Cold-Tolerant Fungus Boosts Plant Growth and Fights Harmful Fungi

Jim Crocker
4th June, 2024

Cold-Tolerant Fungus Boosts Plant Growth and Fights Harmful Fungi

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica A. C. found that the fungus Cladosporium psychrotolerans (T01 strain) boosts the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana plantlets
  • Arabidopsis plantlets exposed to the fungus showed increased fresh weight, more lateral roots, and higher chlorophyll content, especially in split interactions
  • The fungus emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that significantly inhibit harmful pathogens, reducing Botrytis cinerea and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides by 60% and 50%, respectively
The Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica A. C. recently conducted a study evaluating the effects of Cladosporium psychrotolerans (T01 strain) on the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana plantlets and its ability to inhibit phytopathogens[1]. This research is part of a growing body of work exploring how microorganisms can enhance plant growth and protect against diseases. The study investigated both direct and split interactions between C. psychrotolerans and Arabidopsis plantlets. In a split interaction, the fungus and plant are physically separated but share the same environment, allowing for the exchange of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) without direct contact. After nine days of exposure, Arabidopsis plantlets showed a significant increase in fresh weight and lateral root development, particularly in split interactions. Chlorophyll content also increased in both interaction conditions, although primary root growth was inhibited during direct contact. A notable finding was the increase in the GUS signal from the Arabidopsis auxin-inducible DR5:uidA marker in lateral root tips in both contact and split interactions, and in primary root tips during split interaction. This suggests that C. psychrotolerans influences auxin signaling, a crucial plant hormone involved in growth and development. The study extended its scope to Arabidopsis and tomato plants grown in soil pots, confirming that C. psychrotolerans positively impacts biomass production. An analysis using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) revealed that the T01 strain emitted VOCs, predominantly alcohols and aldehydes. These VOCs exhibited significant inhibitory effects against the pathogens Botrytis cinerea and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, with inhibition rates of 60% and 50%, respectively. The findings from this study align with previous research on the beneficial roles of fungi in plant growth and stress tolerance. For instance, Trichoderma spp. are known to enhance plant growth and yield while providing resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses[2]. Similarly, Metarhizium anisopliae strains have been shown to increase plant fresh weight and promote root growth through the emission of VOCs, which also play a role in insect biocontrol[3]. Furthermore, Trichoderma species have been found to mitigate cold stress in plants and influence auxin accumulation, which is consistent with the auxin-related findings in the current study[4]. By demonstrating the dual benefits of growth promotion and pathogen inhibition, this study on C. psychrotolerans T01 expands the potential applications of beneficial fungi in agriculture. The ability of the T01 strain to emit VOCs that inhibit harmful pathogens presents a promising avenue for developing green technologies to enhance crop productivity and reduce reliance on chemical pesticides. In summary, the research conducted by the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica A. C. highlights the potential of C. psychrotolerans T01 as a multifunctional agent in agriculture, capable of enhancing plant growth and providing protection against pathogens. This study not only corroborates previous findings on the benefits of fungal interactions with plants but also opens new possibilities for sustainable agricultural practices.

BiochemPlant ScienceMycology


Main Study

1) Cladosporium psychrotolerans strain T01 enhances plant biomass and also exhibits antifungal activity against pathogens.

Published 3rd June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Seed treatment with Trichoderma harzianum alleviates biotic, abiotic, and physiological stresses in germinating seeds and seedlings.

3) The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae enhances Arabidopsis, tomato, and maize plant growth.

4) The Arabidopsis-Trichoderma interaction reveals that the fungal growth medium is an important factor in plant growth induction.

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