Antagonistic effect of Trichoderma harzianum VSL291 on phytopathogenic fungi isolated from cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) fruits
In this study we evaluated the antagonism in vitro of Trichoderma harzianum strain VSL291 against 18 pathogens of cocoa fruits in dual culture. T. harzianum VSL291 inhibited the growth of the phytopathogenic fungi tested between 10.54 and 85.43%. The mycoparasitism of Moniliophthora roreri by T. harzianum VSL291 was studied by light and scanning electron microscopy. T. harzianum VSL291 hyphae grew in parallel with the hyphae of M. roreri and in some places these were united with the hyphae of the cocoa pathogen through small structures like apresorious that tangled in the pathogenic fungus preventing its growth. T. harzianum VSL291 produced lytic enzymes: β-1,3-glucanases, chitinases, proteases, xylanases and lipases, when grown in minimal medium, with fungal cell walls as the sole carbon source. The highest proteolytic activities detected in T. harzianum VSL291 broth with M. roreri, Penicillium expansum and Byssochlamys spectabilis cell walls appear to be associated with increased activities of β-1,3 glucanases, chitinases, lipases, proteases and xylanases and biocontrol index derived from the experiments of confrontation. These results suggest that proteolytic enzymes according to their degree of induction could participate in the antagonistic effect of T. harzianum VSL291 against the fungi tested.
Key words: Antagonism, Trichoderma harzianum, mycoparasitism, phytopathogenic fungi