Category: News
Date published: March 08, 2024

Growers in salt-affected areas find solution to soil-borne diseases in Trianum

Much is known about the protective properties of Trianum against soil-borne pathogens, nevertheless this biofungicide continues to exceed expectations. Rigorous testing found that growers in salt-affected areas can reliably use Trianum to protect crops, boost plant growth and increase yields. The tolerance of Trianum to abiotic stresses like soil salinity is good news in a world where harsh growing conditions are becoming increasingly common.

Trianum is a brilliant example of finding solutions in nature; of utilising the beneficial properties of micro-organisms, natural enemies and beneficial insects to control pests and diseases. In the case of Trianum, that requires a deep understanding of Trichoderma harzianum T22 as a product, how it interacts with fungal pathogens in the soil, how it protects roots and promotes crop health and development, and how it responds to different conditions. Years of laboratory research and field testing has resulted in a product that is now used effectively around the world to control soil-borne diseases caused by the pathogens Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Sclerotinia. Now, we are continuing to expand our understanding of this versatile fungus to help growers produce crops more sustainably.

Modes of action 

Growers have been using Trianum for years in the cultivation of vegetables, soft fruits and ornamentals, as well as in open field crops like onion, carrot and potato. Trianum can prevent and control soil-borne diseases in a number of ways. In the soil, Trianum actively competes with and outcompetes harmful pathogens for food and space. As it grows, it creates a barrier around the roots of the plant, a natural shield against soil-borne diseases. It also actively attacks fungal pathogens by breaking down and ‘feeding’ on their cell walls. Finally, Trianum's positive effect on water and nutrient uptake promotes plant growth and uniformity, keeping the plant healthy and strong.

Highly resilient  

The potential for Trianum to contribute to sustainable agriculture and to improve crop health, resilience and yield is enormous. That potential challenges us to understand Trianum even better. Generally speaking, Trichoderma harzianum is known to be an adaptable and resilient fungus. But for growers, it is essential to know exactly how suitable Trianum is for use in a broad range of environmental conditions. Our extensive research confirms that Trianum is highly resilient and tolerant of common abiotic stresses, including soil salinity.

Salinity tolerant 

Climate change, intensive agriculture and the use of some mineral fertilizers are contributing to the over-salinization of agricultural land, particularly in coastal areas. How tolerant biocontrol solutions are to soil salinity has major implications for the growers that rely on them.

In a controlled study, the efficacy of Trianum in saline soils was put to the test. Olga Kostenko, researcher in the Agronomical Development department at Koppert: “We collected and combined extensive data on the effects of rising salinity levels in the soil. To ensure the validity of our research, we tested the disease isolates that are found within this range, and reproduced the level of disease at which the crop is expected to fail. As we cannot test every single crop and pathogen, we study the most relevant scenarios. For this study, we selected a number of tomato and cucumber varieties affected by Pythium and Fusarium pathogens. We found that Trianum is highly effective against disease caused by Pythium in cucumber and Fusarium in tomato, even in very salty soils (2.5 dS/m). Plants treated with Trianum showed 80% plant recovery, an excellent result! What is also important to keep in mind is that applying Trianum in saline soils, even when the disease stays dormant, gives crops a boost by promoting root system development, nutrient uptake and overall plant growth.”

Powerful and versatile biocontrol agent 

At present, Trianum is registered for the control of soil-borne diseases and available in two formulations: Trianum-P, granules that are mixed with water, and Trianum-G, granules that are mixed with substrate and can be applied using standard machinery, which is particularly important for the use of Trianum in row crops.

“The more we study Trichoderma harzianum, the more we discover about its potential,” explains Francisco Marin Andres, researcher in the Agronomical Development department at Koppert Spain. “Recently, we proved that Trianum is able to establish itself and grow in five different types of substrate used in greenhouse cultivation, including substrates in which some biocontrol products cannot establish itself or grow. The potential of Trianum to grow not only in diverse soils but also in very artificial and nutrient-depleted substrates presents opportunities for a much larger group of growers.”

Expanding solutions, building confidence 

Research and development are major drivers of the movement towards more sustainable agriculture. The growing body of scientific knowledge on Trichoderma harzianum and other biological alternatives to conventional crop protection products is resulting in new solutions that help boost yields and crop quality. Equally important, research is boosting growers’ confidence in the power of nature to improve crop health, resilience and yield.