Trichoderma and its Benefits
Authors: Ajit Kumar Dubedi Anal and Manvendra Singh

Trichoderma spp. are free-living fungi that are common occurring in soil. They release a variety of compounds that induce localized or systemic resistance responses in plants. Trichoderma strains have long been recognized as biological agents, for the control of plant disease and for their ability to increase root growth and development, crop productivity, resistance to abiotic stresses, and uptake and use of nutrients.

Benefits of Trichoderma spp:-

1. Disease Control: Trichoderma is a potent biocontrol agent and used extensively for post-harvest disease control. It has been used successfully against various pathogenic fungi belonging to various genera, viz. Fusarium, Phytopthora.

2. Plant Growth Promoter: Trichoderma strains solubilize phosphates and micronutrients. The application of Trichoderma strains with plants such as grasses increases the number of deep roots, thereby increasing the plant's ability to resist drought.

3. Biochemical Elicitors of Disease Resistance: Trichoderma strains are known to induce resistance in plants. Three classes of compounds that are produced by Trichoderma and induce resistance in plants are now known. These compounds induce ethylene production, hypersensitive responses and other defense related reactions in plant cultivates.

4. Transgenic Plants: Introduction of endochitinase gene from Trichoderma into plants such as tobacco and potato plants has increased their resistance to fungal growth. Selected transgenic lines are highly tolerant to foliar pathogens such as Alternaria alternata, Alternaria. solani, and Botrytis cinerea as well as to the soil-borne pathogen, Rhizoctonia spp.

5. Bioremediation: Trichoderma strains play an important role in the bioremediation of soil that are contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. They have the ability to degrade a wide range of insecticides: organochlorines, organophosphates and carbamates.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am working as a Young Professional-II in ICAR-NRC on Litchi.