Agrochemicals are generally used in agriculture to maximize yields and product quality, but their overuse can cause environmental pollution and human health problems. To reduce the off-farm input of chemicals, numerous biostimulant products based on beneficial symbiont plant fungi are receiving a great deal of attention. The evolution of plant diseases and the performance of insects are influenced by plant chemical defences, both of which are, in turn, influenced by below-ground symbionts. Direct and indirect plant defences mediated by belowground symbionts against plant diseases and insect herbivores were demonstrated in greenhouses experiments. However, little attention has been paid to the use of Trichoderma under open field conditions, and no data are available for zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.) plants in the field. To determine the effects of a commercial Trichoderma harzianum strain T22 on plant viruses, powdery mildew, the arthropod community, and on the agronomic performance associated with zucchini plants, an experiment was conducted in 2022 under open field conditions in South Italy. Our results indicate that T. harzianum T22 makes zucchini plants more attractive to aphids and to Hymenoptera parasitoid but failed to control zucchini pathogens. The complex plant-disease-arthropod-microorganism interactions that occurred in the field during the entire plant cycle are discussed to enrich our current information on the possibilities of using these microorganisms as a green alternative in agriculture.

Effects of Below-Ground Microbial Biostimulant Trichoderma harzianum on Diseases, Insect Community, and Plant Performance in Cucurbita pepo L. under Open Field Conditions

Pierluigi Forlano;Stefania Mang;Vittoria Caccavo;Paolo Fanti;Ippolito Camele;Donatella Battaglia;Vincenzo Trotta
2022-01-01

Abstract

Agrochemicals are generally used in agriculture to maximize yields and product quality, but their overuse can cause environmental pollution and human health problems. To reduce the off-farm input of chemicals, numerous biostimulant products based on beneficial symbiont plant fungi are receiving a great deal of attention. The evolution of plant diseases and the performance of insects are influenced by plant chemical defences, both of which are, in turn, influenced by below-ground symbionts. Direct and indirect plant defences mediated by belowground symbionts against plant diseases and insect herbivores were demonstrated in greenhouses experiments. However, little attention has been paid to the use of Trichoderma under open field conditions, and no data are available for zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.) plants in the field. To determine the effects of a commercial Trichoderma harzianum strain T22 on plant viruses, powdery mildew, the arthropod community, and on the agronomic performance associated with zucchini plants, an experiment was conducted in 2022 under open field conditions in South Italy. Our results indicate that T. harzianum T22 makes zucchini plants more attractive to aphids and to Hymenoptera parasitoid but failed to control zucchini pathogens. The complex plant-disease-arthropod-microorganism interactions that occurred in the field during the entire plant cycle are discussed to enrich our current information on the possibilities of using these microorganisms as a green alternative in agriculture.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/168174
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