Beneficial effects of Trichoderma secondary metabolites on crops

Phytother Res. 2020 Nov;34(11):2835-2842. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6728. Epub 2020 Jun 23.


Selected microbial strains used as active ingredients of biopesticides for agricultural management practices (e.g., IPM, Integrated Pest Management) are known for their ability to control phytopathogens, promote plant growth, and/or induce disease resistance. Microbes belonging to the Trichoderma genus are considered as an appropriate example of beneficial microbes and are model organisms to study plant-microbe interactions. Several Trichoderma strains are marketed as biocontrol agents and are known to increase plant growth, stress tolerance, and nutrient availability. These effects have sometimes been related to the production of effector metabolites that beneficial microbes produce during the interaction with plant and other microbes. Secondary metabolites (SMs) comprise different classes of natural compounds with low molecular weight and having numerous biological roles, especially in the interactions among organisms. Metabolomic analysis of the interactions between plants, phytopathogens, and beneficial fungi aided in the identification of several bioactive fungal SMs that positively affect plant metabolism. Some of these compounds showed direct activity against phytopathogens, but also increased disease resistance by triggering the plant defence system, and/or enhanced vegetative growth. A new generation of bioformulations based on microbial metabolites and living consortia responsible for the desired beneficial effects on crops may overcome the difficulties associated with the use of a single living microbial strain.

Keywords: beneficial microbes; bioactive compounds; microbial consortia; plant growth promotion; plant protection; secondary metabolites.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crops, Agricultural / drug effects*
  • Trichoderma / chemistry*