Molecular Identification Of Trichoderma Strains Collected To Develop Plant Growth-Promoting And Biocontrol Agents

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Trichoderma strains that are beneficial to both the growth and health of plants can be used as plant growth-promoting fungi (PGPF) or biological control agents (BCA) in agricultural and horticultural practices. In order to select PGPF or BCA strains, their biological properties and taxonomy must be carefully studied. In this study, 104 strains of Trichoderma collected at geographically different locations in Poland for selection as PGPF or BCA were identified by DNA barcoding, based on the sequences of internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2 (ITS1 and 2) of the ribosomal RNA gene cluster and on the sequences of translation elongation factor 1 alpha (tef1), chitinase 18-5 (chi18-5), and RNA polymerase II subunit (rpb2) gene fragments. Most of the strains were classified as: T. atroviride (38%), T. harzianum (21%), T. lentiforme (9%), T. virens (9%), and T. simmonsii (6%). Single strains belonging to T. atrobrunneum, T. citrinoviride, T. crassum, T. gamsii, T. hamatum, T. spirale, T. tomentosum, and T. viridescens were identified. Three strains that are potentially pathogenic to cultivated mushrooms belonging to T. pleuroticola and T. aggressivum f. europaeum were also identified. Four strains: TRS4, TRS29, TRS33, and TRS73 were classified to Trichoderma spp. and molecular identification was inconclusive at the species level. Phylogeny analysis showed that three of these strains TRS4, TRS29, and TRS33 belong to Trichoderma species that is not yet taxonomically established and strain TRS73 belongs to the T. harzianum complex, however, the species could not be identified with certainty.

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