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Int Microbiol. 2013 Jun;16(2):69-80.

The contribution of Trichoderma to balancing the costs of plant growth and defense.

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  • 1Spanish-Portuguese Centre for Agricultural Research (CIALE), Department of Microbiology and Genetics, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.
  • 2Area of Microbiology, University School of Agricultural Engineers, University of Leon, Ponferrada Campus, Ponferrada, Spain.

Abstract

Trichoderma is a fungal genus of cosmopolitan distribution and high biotechnological value, with several species currently used as biological control agents. Additionally, the enzyme systems of the fungus are widely applied in industry. Species of Trichoderma protect plants against the attack of soil-borne plant pathogens by competing for nutrients and inhibiting or killing plant pathogenic fungi and oomycetes, through the production of antibiotics and/or hydrolytic enzymes. In addition to the role of Trichoderma spp. as biocontrol agents, they have other beneficial effects on plants, including the stimulation of plant defenses and the promotion of plant growth. In this review, we focus on the complex plant defense signaling network that allows the recognition of fungi as non-hostile microbes, including microbial-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and secreted elicitors. We also examine how fungal interactions with plant receptors can activate induced resistance by priming and balancing plant defense and growth responses. Our observations are integrated into a model describing Trichoderma-plant hormone signaling network interactions.

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