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Trichoderma

Trichoderma is a genus of fungi that is present in all soils, where they are the most prevalent culturable fungi. Many species in this genus can be characterized as opportunistic avirulent plant symbionts.

 Cultures are typically fast growing at 25-30C, but will not grow at 35 C. Colonies are transparent at first on media such as cornmeal dextrose agar (CMD) or white on richer media such as potato dextrose agar (PDA). Mycelium are not typically obvious on CMD, conidia typically form within one week in compact or loose tufts in shades of green or yellow or less frequently white. A yellow pigment may be secreted into the agar, especially on PDA. Some species produce a characteristic sweet or 'coconut' odor.

Conidiophores are highly branched and thus difficult to define or measure, loosely or compactly tufted, often formed in distinct concentric rings or borne along the scant aerial hyphae. Main branches of the conidiophores produce lateral side branches that may be paired or not, the longest branches distant from the tip and often phialides arising directly from the main axis near the tip. The branches may rebranch, with the secondary branches often paired and longest secondary branches being closest to the main axis. All primary and secondary branches arise at or near 90 with respect to the main axis. The typical Trichoderma conidiophore, with paired branches assumes a pyramidal aspect. Typically the conidiophore terminates in one or a few phialides. In some species (e.g. T. polysporum) the main branches are terminated by long, simple or branched, hooked, straight or sinuous, septate, thin-walled, sterile or terminally fertile elongations. The main axis may be the same width as the base of the phialide or it may be much wider.

Phialides are typically enlarged in the middle but may be cylindrical or nearly subglobose. Phialides may be held in whorls, at an angle of 90 with respect to other members of the whorl, or they may be variously penicillate (gliocladium-like). Phialides may be densely clustered on wide main axis (e.g. T. polysporum, T. hamatum) or they may be solitary (e.g. T. longibrachiatum).

Conidia typically appear dry but in some species they may be held in drops of clear green or yellow liquid (e.g. T. virens, T. flavofuscum). Conidia of most species are ellipsoidal, 3-5 x 2-4 m (L/W = > 1.3); globose conidia (L/W < 1.3) are rare. Conidia are typically smooth but tuberculate to finely warted conidia are known in a few species.

Synanamorphs are formed by some species that also have typical Trichoderma pustules. Synanamorphs are recognized by their solitary conidiophores that are verticillately branched and that bear conidia in a drop of clear green liquid at the tip of each phialide.

Chlamydospores may be produced by all species, but not all species produce chlamydospores on CMD at 20 C within 10 days. Chlamydospores are typically unicellular subglobose and terminate short hyphae; they may also be formed within hyphal cells. Chlamydospores of some species are multicellular (e.g. T. stromaticum).

Teleomorph

Teleomorphs of Trichoderma are species of the ascomycete genus Hypocrea. These are characterized by the formation of fleshy, stromata in shades of light or dark brown, yellow or orange. Typically the stroma is discoidal to pulvinate and limited in extent but stromata of some species are effused, sometimes covering extensive areas. Stromata of some species (Podostroma) are clavate or turbinate. Perithecia are completely immersed. Ascospores are bicellular but disarticulate at the septum early in development into 16 part-ascospores so that the ascus appears to contain 16 ascospores. Ascospores are hyaline or green and typically spinulose. More than 200 species of Hypocrea have been described but few have been grown in pure culture and even fewer have been described in modern terms.

Habitat

Trichoderma colony in nature

Trichoderma species are frequently isolated from forest or agricultural soils at all latitudes. Hypocrea species are most frequently found on bark or on decorticated wood but many species grow on bracket fungi (e.g. H. pulvinata), Exidia (H. sulphurea) or bird's nest fungi (H. latizonata) or agarics (H. avellanea).

 Biocontrol agent

Several strains of Trichoderma have been developed as biocontrol agents against fungal diseases of plants.[2] The various mechanisms include antibiosis, parasitism, inducing host-plant resistance, and competition. Most biocontrol agents are from the species T. harzianum, T. viride and T. hamatum. The biocontrol agent generally grows in its natural habitat on the root surface, and so affects root disease in particular, but can also be effective against foliar diseases.

 Causal agent of disease

Trichoderma aggressivum (formerly T. harzianum biotype 4) is the causal agent of green mold, a disease of cultivated button mushrooms.. Trichoderma viride is the causal agent of green mold rot of onion.

 Industrial use

Trichoderma, being a saprophyte adapted to thrive in diverse situations, produces a wide array of enzymes. By selecting strains that produce a particular kind of enzyme, and culturing these in suspension, industrial quantities of enzyme can be produced.

 

 
 

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