Iron (Fe) deficiency is one of the major limiting factors affecting crop yields. Trichoderma asperellum Q1, a biocontrol and plant growth promoting fungus, can produce the siderophore which has a high affinity to Fe3+ in the absence of iron. In this study, Trichoderma asperellum Q1 was found to be able to promote growth of Arabidopsis thaliana in an iron-deficient or insoluble iron-containing (Fe2O3) medium. It also can produce more siderophore and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) as the concentration of iron ions decreased. However, it is unclear that the relationship between siderophore and IAA in promoting plant growth. Both Trichoderma asperellum Q1 and siderophore promotes not only the DR5::GFP transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings, in which the root IAA is labeled by green fluorescent protein gene, but also increases the content of endogenous IAA in the roots, which was shown by the fluorescence study. The strongest fluorescence was observed in the treated group inoculated with Trichoderma asperellum Q1 under the condition of insoluble iron. In the case of iron-free medium, adding siderophore also increased the observed fluorescence intensity. These results suggest that the siderophores produced by Trichoderma asperellum Q1 increased the content of IAA in Arabidopsis roots by enhancing the conversion of poorly soluble iron or by the siderophore itself.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; IAA; Siderophore; Trichoderma asperellum.