Marine isolates of Trichoderma spp. As potential halotolerant agents of biological control for arid-zone agriculture

Inbal Gal-Hemed, Lea Atanasova, Monika Komon-Zelazowska, Irina S. Druzhinina, Ada Viterbo, Oded Yarden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The scarcity of fresh water in the Mediterranean region necessitates the search for halotolerant agents of biological control of plant diseases that can be applied in arid-zone agriculture irrigated with saline water. Among 29 Trichoderma strains previously isolated from Mediterranean Psammocinia sp. sponges, the greatest number of isolates belong to the Trichoderma longibrachiatum-Hypocrea orientalis species pair (9), H. atroviridis/T. atroviride (9), and T. harzianum species complex (7), all of which are known for high mycoparasitic potential. In addition, one isolate of T. asperelloides and two putative new species, Trichoderma sp. O.Y. 14707 and O.Y. 2407, from Longibrachiatum and Strictipilosa clades, respectively, have been identified. In vitro salinity assays showed that the ability to tolerate increasing osmotic pressure (halotolerance) is a strain- or clade-specific property rather than a feature of a species. Only a few isolates were found to be sensitive to increased salinity, while others either were halotolerant or even demonstrated improved growth in increasingly saline conditions. In vitro antibiosis assays revealed strong antagonistic activity toward phytopathogens due to the production of both soluble and volatile metabolites. Two marine-derived Trichoderma isolates, identified as T. atroviride and T. asperelloides, respectively, effectively reduced Rhizoctonia solani damping-off disease on beans and also induced defense responses in cucumber seedlings against Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrimans. This is the first inclusive evaluation of marine fungi as potential biocontrol agents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5100-5109
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2011


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