Endophytic Trichoderma spp. can protect strawberry and privet plants from infection by the fungus Armillaria mellea

Helen J Rees, Jassy Drakulic, Matthew Cromey, Andrew M. Bailey, Gary D Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Armillaria mellea (Vahl) P. Kumm is an important fungal pathogen worldwide affecting a large number of hosts in the horticulture and forestry industries. Controlling A. mellea infection is expensive, labour intensive and time-consuming, so a new, environmentally friendly management solution is required. To this effect, endophytic Trichoderma species were studied as a potential protective agent for Armillaria root rot (ARR) in strawberry and privet plants. A collection of forty endophytic Trichoderma isolates were inoculated into strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) plants and plant growth was monitored for two months, during which time Trichoderma treatment had no apparent effect. Trichoderma-colonised strawberry plants were then inoculated with A. mellea and after three months plants were assessed for A. mellea infection. There was considerable variation in ARR disease levels between plants inoculated with different Trichoderma spp. isolates, but seven isolates reduced ARR below the level of positive controls. These isolates were further tested for protective potential in Trichoderma-colonized privet (Ligustrum vulgare) plants where five Trichoderma spp. isolates, including two highly effective Trichoderma atrobrunneum (F.B. Rocha, P. Chaverri & W. Jaklitsch) isolates, were able to significantly reduce levels of disease. This study highlights the potential of plants pre-colonised with T. atrobrunneum for effective protection against A. mellea in two hosts from different plant families.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0271622
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: HR received funding from The Royal Horticultural Society and the Bristol Centre for Agricultural Innovation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Rees et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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