Trichoderma atroviride promotes growth and enhances systemic resistance to Diplodia pinea in radiata pine (Pinus radiata) seedlings



Root drench application of Trichoderma atroviride isolates R32, R33, R40 and R84 promoted the growth of potted radiata pine seedlings. After 6 weeks, seedlings treated with R33 and R84 had thicker stems and greater stem and root biomass (p < 0.05) than untreated controls. Treatment with R32 increased seedling root biomass whilst R40 increased stem diameter. None of the isolates affected seedling height. One isolate, R33, induced systemic resistance to stem inoculation with Diplodia pinea and reduced dieback incidence by 20% compared with untreated controls. To our knowledge, this is the first report of systemic induced resistance by Trichoderma in a pine species. Furthermore, seedlings that were treated with R33 (root drench) plus foliar application of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) expressed elevated peroxidase activity in their stems 2 weeks later, compared with seedlings treated only with MeJA. Because R33 itself did not affect peroxidase activity, this may be indicative of treatment synergy or defence potentiation by R33. Curiously, R33 + MeJA induced terpenoids but suppressed phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity suggesting possible trade-offs between phenolic and terpenoid defence pathways in the treated seedlings.