Discovering a Fungus That Boosts Plant Growth

Greg Howard
13th March, 2024

Discovering a Fungus That Boosts Plant Growth

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Punjab, India, a fungus named Talaromyces albobiverticillius HNB9 was found to boost plant growth
  • This fungus can latch onto roots and produce a hormone that helps plants develop better
  • It also makes important nutrients like Phosphorous and Zinc more accessible to plants
In the fertile plains of Punjab, India, near the Shivalik mountain foothills, a study conducted by researchers at Amity University Noida has brought to light a promising discovery in the field of plant-microbe interactions. The research focused on the potential of fungi, specifically an isolate named Talaromyces albobiverticillius HNB9, to enhance plant growth. This breakthrough could have far-reaching implications for sustainable agriculture, offering an alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are known to degrade soil quality and potentially harm human health[2]. The study[1] involved the careful collection of root and rhizospheric soil samples from local vegetation in the Kandi zone, an area known for its rich biodiversity. Out of fifteen distinct fungal colonies cultured, HNB9 stood out for its nonpathogenic, root-colonizing nature and its unique ability to secrete a red pigment as a secondary metabolite. When plants were colonized with T. albobiverticillius HNB9, they showed a marked increase in shoot and root length compared to untreated controls, indicating a beneficial relationship between the fungus and the host plant. Talaromyces albobiverticillius is part of a genus that has previously been investigated for its role in agriculture. For example, another species, Talaromyces pinophilus, was found to improve the growth of wheat when used in soil amended with sewage sludge, highlighting its potential in phytoremediation and as a plant growth stimulator[3]. This prior research serves as a foundation for the current study, which expands our understanding of the Talaromyces genus and its diverse capabilities. The researchers at Amity University Noida identified that T. albobiverticillius HNB9 not only promotes growth but also produces plant growth-regulating compounds such as Indole Acetic Acid (IAA), which is known to be a significant phytohormone involved in root development. Additionally, HNB9 exhibited an impressive ability to solubilize essential nutrients like Phosphorous, Zinc, and Silica, making them more available to plants. This ability to unlock and provide nutrients is particularly valuable in regions where soil fertility is a limiting factor for crop production. The significance of this study is twofold. Firstly, it identifies a new species within the Talaromyces genus that can colonize roots and promote plant growth, which was previously an unexplored area within this group of fungi. Secondly, it offers a potential eco-friendly solution to enhance crop yields without resorting to harmful chemicals. This aligns with previous findings that underscore the importance of utilizing beneficial microbes residing in the rhizosphere – the soil region close to plant roots – to improve agricultural outputs sustainably[2]. Moreover, the genus Talaromyces has shown promise in other areas of biotechnology. For instance, Talaromyces purpureogenus has been used to synthesize silver nanoparticles with antibacterial and anticancer properties[4], and it has been explored for its antiproliferative and antioxidative potential, with certain extracts showing selective toxicity towards cancer cells without harming normal cells[5]. These studies demonstrate the versatility of Talaromyces species and their potential applications beyond agriculture. In conclusion, the discovery of Talaromyces albobiverticillius HNB9's plant growth-promoting attributes offers a new perspective on sustainable farming practices. It provides a natural way to enhance crop productivity while potentially reducing the reliance on chemical inputs, thereby contributing to a healthier ecosystem and safer food supply. As researchers continue to explore the beneficial interactions between fungi and plants, the integration of such biological solutions into agriculture could lead to a greener and more sustainable future for farming.

Plant ScienceAgricultureMycology


Main Study

1) Isolation and characterization of a newly discovered plant growth-promoting endophytic fungal strain from the genus Talaromyces.

Published 12th March, 2024

Journal: Scientific reports

Issue: Vol 14, Issue 1, Mar 2024

Related Studies

2) Revisiting Plant-Microbe Interactions and Microbial Consortia Application for Enhancing Sustainable Agriculture: A Review.

3) The Effect of Endophytic Talaromyces pinophilus on Growth, Absorption and Accumulation of Heavy Metals of Triticum aestivum Grown on Sandy Soil Amended by Sewage Sludge.

4) Mycosynthesis, characterization, anticancer and antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles from endophytic fungus Talaromyces purpureogenus.

5) Antiproliferative and Antioxidative Bioactive Compounds in Extracts of Marine-Derived Endophytic Fungus Talaromyces purpureogenus.

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