Why is Trichoderma Harzianum used on Crops?
Trichoderma Harzianum, a microscopic soil fungi, has a number of valuable uses on crops. T. harzianum, sometimes misspelled Trichoderma harzanium, has grown in popularity over the last decade or so. It’s a versatile biofertilizer that can be used as a foliar spray, a seed treatment or a soil treatment.
Major Uses of Trichoderma Harzianum
T. harzianum has 3 major uses in agriculture.
- As a growth promoter
- To suppress various fungal diseases
- To reduce thatch and degrade cellulose.
Let’s talk a little about each one of these major benefits of this species of Trichoderma.
T. harzianum as a Biological Growth Promoter
Growth promoters, or biofertilizers, are starting to gain more market acceptance both worldwide and in the United States. The reason for this growth is because biofertilizers produce a better crop, are cost effective, and reduce the use of agrochemicals.
T. harzianum helps stimulate plant growth and development. While the complete biochemical mechanisms are still being studied, it appears that the beneficial soil fungi and the plant “communicate” with each other via a molecular dialogue. In other words, both the plant and the fungi emit chemicals and both organisms respond to this chemical communication.
Mutual beneficial reactions have been reported in a number of plants including, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas to name a few.
Growth promotion by Trichoderma is likely caused by the production of growth hormones like gibberellic acid.
Additionally, there seems to be an additional positive effect when mycorrhizal fungi are also present.
Trichoderma harzianum To suppress Various Fungal Diseases
It’s well documented that Trichoderma harzianum can suppress various fungal diseases. T. harzianum T22 is licensed as a biofungicide both in the US and globally.
Use of biocontrol agents will continue to grow as more are discovered and analysed.
To Reduce Thatch and Degrade Cellulose
Trichoderma harzianum can be used to reduce thatch and other plant residues that are high in cellulose content. Cellulose is difficult to break down. However, there are many nutrients in cellulose that need to be returned to the soil.
T. harzianum can break down cellulose because it produces a number of cellulases, an enzyme. Cellulase breaks down cellulose into simple sugars. This is a key step in the nutrient cycle of decomposers. BY breaking down the cellulose, these nutrients are returned to the soil, producing a more fertile, sustainable soil.
With these three key benefits, it’s easy to see why the use of Trichoderma harzianum is increasing in both farming and home gardening.