Category: News
Date published: February 21, 2024

Trianum remarkably effective against soil-borne diseases in acidic soils

Much is known about the protective properties of Trianum against soil-borne pathogens, nevertheless this biofungicide continues to exceed expectations. Research shows that Trianum is remarkably tolerant of acidic soils and remains effective even at an extremely acidic pH of 3.7. The tolerance of Trianum to abiotic stresses like acidity 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 scaused 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 abiotic stresses, including soil acidity.

Acidity tolerant 

The pH of the soil matters greatly when it comes to plant development and the effective use of biocontrol products. That is because abnormal pH levels, often the result of abiotic stresses like intensive rainfall and the overuse of certain fertilizers, can lead to toxicity. The pH levels in soil vary around the world, ranging from alkaline all the way to highly acidic. That is especially the case for South America, the Southeastern United States and Southeast Asia, all major agricultural areas where pH levels between 3.5 and 4.5 are very common. Growers there need to trust that their crop protection methods are effective in these challenging conditions as well.

The Agronomical Development department at Koppert studied the efficacy of Trianum in acidic soils. The study was methodologically challenging as soil has a natural tendency to restore its pH balance, but the researchers actively monitored the acidity of the soil and kept pH at the target levels. At a pH of approximately 5.7, which qualifies as acidic but is also relatively common, and at a pH of 3.7, Trianum proved effective at reducing seedling loss. Surprisingly, the biggest difference between the experimental group and control group was observed at the lowest pH. “In this highly acidic environment, Trianum proved to be both stable and effective at controlling the soil-borne disease Pythium in cucumber,” explains Roxina Soler, Manager Agronomical Development at Koppert. “As soil pH will rarely exceed this low level, the results indicate that Trianum is remarkably tolerant of acidity. It is a result that should give growers confidence in their ability to control soil diseases and support the health and quality of their crops even if conditions are harsh.”

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.