Trichoderma from Aceh Sumatra reduce Phytophthora lesions on pods and cacao seedlings.
The cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao L., suffers large yield losses in Aceh Indonesia due to the disease black pod rot, caused by Phytophthora spp. Despite having the largest area under cacao production in Sumatra, farmers in the Aceh region have low overall production because of losses to insect pests and black pod rot. Trichoderma spp. were isolated from the roots and leaves of cacao trees and screened as potential biological control agents. Isolates used in the study were Trichoderma asperellum isolates T2 and T4, Trichoderma longibrachiatum isolates T15 and T16, and Trichoderma virens isolates T1 and Tv. T1, T2, T4, and Tv completely colonized and destroyed Phytophthora tropicalis and Phytophthora palmivora mycelium in precolonized plate assays. All six isolates reduced P. tropicalis, but none reduced the growth of P. palmivora in dual plate assays. Phytophthora growth was suppressed on MIN media amended with sterile heat inactivated Trichoderma culture filtrates, with Tv best suppressing growth of both Phytophthora spp. T. virens isolate Tv was the only isolate observed coiling around P. tropicalis mycelium and disrupted the formation of P. palmivora sporangia. Of all six isolates, only Tv reduced P. palmivora lesion expansion in a detached pod assay, reducing severity by 71%. Tv also reduced P. palmivora infection on seedlings when applied aerially at 1×106 and 1×108 conidia/ml, by 19% and 59%, respectively. T. virens isolate Tv is a mycoparasite, antagonizes Phytophthora in a dual plate assay, and shows antibiosis against Phytophthora spp., suggesting that multiple modes of action contribute to its ability to limit Phytophthora lesion expansion on cacao pods and seedlings.