Trichoderma Fungi – Benefits of use as a Biofertilizer
Here 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. They 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 of the fungi, the plant receives more benefit. The addition supplements the existing colonies or replaces colonies that have been lost to chemicals or poor crop management.
Major Benefits and Advantages of Trichoderma
- Improves the nutrient status of the plant
- Production of growth promoting hormones
- Increases Phosphate solubilization
- Increased uptake of minerals such as Cu (copper), Fe(Iron), Zn (Zinc), and Na (Sodium).
- They generally increase both root and shoot growth.
- They help break down thatch and cellulose.
- Trichoderma can improve soil structure
Typical Species Used as Biofertilizers
In most instances, good fertile soil has a number of Trichoderma species. Below are a few species you will likely see in organic soils. If the soil has been overused, it may make send to add them back and to use these species.
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 applications can be made as seed treatment, as a foliar treatment, or as a drench treatment.
T. harzianum increases plant tolerance to environmental factors like drought and high soil salinity. It also increases mineral absorption.
Trichoderma viride, when used as a seed treatment, increases the germination rate in a number of crops.
T. 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.
T. 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.
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Biofertilizers area topic all of their own. Here’s some more information about them.