About this Research Topic
Declines in chemical pesticide availability and usage have been observed, owing to reasons including high mammalian- and eco-toxicity, rise of resistance among target pests and pathogens after prolonged use, and associated high costs. In addition, chemical pesticides cannot be used in the setting of organic agriculture, which is increasing in demand amongst affluent consumers. On the other hand, there has been a surge in pest and disease incidence due to reduced crop diversity and the onset of climate change. Biological control using antagonistic microorganisms is gaining popularity as a practical solution to pest and disease management, and several commercial biopesticide formulations are widely used over the world.
The most successful biocontrol products for plant disease control comprise Trichoderma spp. as the active ingredient with hundreds of formulations being used. In addition to direct impact on pathogenic fungi through mycoparasitism and antibiosis, Trichoderma spp. are also known to internally colonize roots, induce systemic defense, promote plant growth, and impart tolerance to abiotic stresses. Naturally, these fungi (comprising of more than 250 well-defined species) have gained attention as a model for genetic studies. With more than a dozen species having been fully sequenced, the scope for understanding the genetic basis of beneficial interactions of Trichoderma with plants and pathogens has broadened. Functional annotation and understanding, though, have lagged behind. Research in recent years aims to fill this gap by identifying genes for secreted proteins, cell-surface molecules, transcription factors, and secondary metabolites to mention just a few, that are important for interaction with plants and with other microorganisms in the soil and rhizosphere. Further understanding of the biocontrol mechanisms is essential to (i) improve application technologies and (ii) solve context dependencies (such as soil, climate, cultivation practice, crop species, and genotype) leading to known issues with the variability of inoculation responses.
This Research Topic welcomes the submission of Review, Technology Report, Methods, Opinion, and Original Research articles aiming to address the recent developments in understanding the molecular mechanisms of interactions of Trichoderma spp. with plants and pathogens falling under, but not limited to:
• Direct suppression of plant pathogenic fungi resulting in biological control
• Plant growth promotion, e.g., via nutrient mobilization and stimulation of root growth
• Systemic colonization of plants in the context of beneficial effects
• Amelioration of abiotic stresses
• Interactions with other beneficial microbes such as mycorrhizae, rhizobia etc.
• Influence of soil/rhizosphere microbiomes on Trichoderma performance
• Modulation of rhizo- and phyto-biome resulting from Trichoderma applications
• Influence of plant genotype on Trichoderma-plant beneficial interactions
• Advances in -omics strategies to unearth molecular intricacies in Trichoderma-plant-pathogen inter-actions
• Genetic engineering and gene editing of Trichoderma
• Trichoderma effectors and secondary metabolites
Keywords: Biocontrol, Plant pathogens, Trichoderma, Genetics, Genomics, metabolomics, secondary metabolites
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.