There are several species of Trichoderma fungi that are used as biofertilizers. In this post, we’ll talk about the most commonly used Trichoderma. We’ll also talk about the benefits of using Trichoderma for farming, agriculture and home gardening.
First, some background on Trichoderma fungi. Trichoderma species are the most prevalent type of fungi in soils and they are present worldwide in almost all soil types. They are microscopic and are generally considered avirulent plant symbionts. In other words, they form a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship with plants.
It’s this symbiotic relationship that biofertilizers try to exploit. The idea is simple, by adding more Trichoderma the plant receives more benefit.
Benefits of Trichoderma
I’ve discussed the benefits to the plant of Trichoderma in another post, so I’ll just summarize the highlights here.
- Trichoderma generally increase both root and shoot growth.
- Improves the nutrient status of the plant
- Production of growth promoting hormones
- Phosphate solubilization
- Increased uptake of minerals such as Cu (copper), Fe(Iron), Zn (Zinc), and Na (Sodium).
Trichoderma Species Used as Biofertilizers
Most of the Trichoderma species listed here provide the benefits from above. I’ll talk a bit about the additional benefits of some of the fungi. It’s important to note that Trichoderma applications can be made as seed treatment, as a foliar treatment, or as a drench treatment.
Trichoderma harzianum increases plant tolerance to environmental factors like drought and high soil salinity. T. harzianum increases mineral absorption.
Trichoderma viride, when used as a seed treatment, increases the germination rate in a number of crops.
Trichoderma reesi has the ability to secrete large amounts of cellulolytic enzymes and has a number of uses in biotechnology. In fact, it is used to create stone washed jeans because of this ability.
Trichoderma koningii is known to increase the growth of seedlings and secretes seed germination factors.
Trichoderma polysporum is normally found in cooler climates and conveys all of the benefits associated with the other Trichoderma fungi.
It’s the versatility of Trichoderma that increases its value as a biofertilizer. The fungi are found in all types of soils and seem to survive and grow in almost any soil conditions. Further, Trichoderma have important uses as biofungicides. Although it’s beyond the scope of this article, this biofungicial activity is why Trichoderma were generally studied in the first place.
As you can see there are a number of species of Trichoderma fungi that are used as biofertilizers. These uses are surely to be explored and exploited in the years to come.