The Open Mycology Journal


ISSN: 1874-4370 ― Volume 8, 2014

Trichoderma-based Products and their Widespread Use in Agriculture

The Open Mycology Journal, 2014, 8: 71-126

Sheridan L. Woo, Michelina Ruocco, Francesco Vinale, Marco Nigro, Roberta Marra, Nadia Lombardi, Alberto Pascale, Stefania Lanzuise, Gelsomina Manganiello, Matteo Lorito

Dipartimento di Agraria, Universit� degli Studi di Napoli �Federico II�, Via Universit� 100, 80055, Portici, Italy.

Electronic publication date 11/July/2014
[DOI: 10.2174/1874437001408010071]


Governing bodies throughout the world, particularly in Europe, are now implementing legislative mandates with the objective of decreasing dependence on pesticides in agriculture to increase consumer and environmental safety. In order to reduce the risks associated with pesticide applications and reduce dependency on their use, Directives will promote low pesticide-input by implementing integrated pest management (IPM), and provide the means to establish the necessary conditions and measures to employ these practices, as well as to ensure security of commercial products. One approach includes the use of biological control agents and their products as alternatives to synthetic agro-chemicals. Trichoderma spp. are widely studied fungi and are among the most commonly used microbial biological control agents (MBCAs) in agriculture. They are presently marketed as bio-pesticides, biofertilizers, growth enhancers and stimulants of natural resistance. The efficacy of this fungus can be attributed to their ability to protect plants, enhance vegetative growth and contain pathogen populations under numerous agricultural conditions, as well as to act as soil amendments/inoculants for improvement of nutrient ability, decomposition and biodegradation. The living fungal spores (active substance) are incorporated in various formulations, both traditional and innovative, for applications as foliar sprays, pre-planting applications to seed or propagation material, post-pruning treatments, incorporation in the soil during seeding or transplant, watering by irrigation or applied as a root drench or dip. Trichoderma-based preparations are marketed worldwide and used for crop protection of various plant pathogens or increase the plant growth and productivity in diverse cultivated environments such as fields, greenhouses, nurseries; in the production of a variety of horticultural, fruits, trees and ornamental crops. A survey was conducted of Trichoderma-containing products found on the international market to obtain an overall perspective of the: 1) geographical distribution, 2) product composition and identity of Trichoderma species selected, 3) contents combined with Trichoderma in the products - other microbial species or substances in the mix, 4) number of products available globally and geographically, 5) number of products registered or having use specifications, 6) product formulations and applications, 7) manufacturer claims - target use, target pests, product type and effects of applications. The largest distribution of Trichoderma bioproducts is found in Asia, succeeded by Europe, South- Central America and North America. The majority of the labels indicated fungicidal properties, but only 38% of the marketed merchandise are registered. Ten Trichoderma species are specifically indicated, but many labels indicate a generic Trichoderma sp. or spp. mix in the list of ingredients. The most common formulation is a wettable powder, followed by granules. Generally, Trichoderma are applied to the seed or propagation material at the time of planting, then the secondary use is during plant development. On the whole, the target use is for the control of soilborne fungal pathogens such as Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Sclerotinia, and a few foliar pathogens such as Botrytis and Alternaria; whereas the minor use indication is for plant growth promotion. The use of Trichoderma-based biological products will have an important role in agricultural production of the future, in light of changing worldwide perspectives by consumers and governing bodies.

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