Francesco Vinale, Krishnapillai Sivasithamparam, Emilio L. Ghisalberti, Sheridan L. Woo, Marco Nigro, Roberta Marra, Nadia Lombardi, Alberto Pascale, Michelina Ruocco, Stefania Lanzuise, Gelsomina Manganiello, Matteo Lorito
CNR � Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante (IPSP-CNR), Via Universit� 133, 80055 Portici, Italy.
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Beneficial microbes typically produce bioactive molecules that can affect the interactions of plants with their
pathogens. Many secondary metabolites may also have antibiotic properties, which enable the producing microbe to
inhibit and/or kill other microorganisms i.e. competing for a nutritional niche. Indeed, some of these compounds have
been found to play an important role in the biocontrol of plant diseases by various beneficial microbes used world-wide
for crop protection and bio-fertilization. In addition to direct toxic activity against plant pathogens, biocontrol-related
metabolites may also increase disease resistance by triggering systemic plant defence activity, and/or enhance root and
shoot growth. Fungi belonging to the Trichoderma genus are well known producers of secondary metabolites with a direct
activity against phytopathogens and compounds that substantially affect the metabolism of the plant. The widescale
application of selected metabolites to induce host resistance and/or to promote crop yield may become a reality in the near
future and represents a powerful tool for the implementation of IPM strategies.