The role of sesquiterpene volatiles emitted by plant-symbiotic Trichoderma virens in plant-herbivore interactions

Trichoderma spp. are widely applied as biocontrol agents to protect crops from plant pathogens. Many of these strains are opportunistic endophytes that provide their host with additional benefits, most prominently growth promotion. These processes can be elucidated by several effectors, including volatile compounds. The endophyte strain Trichoderma virens emits a rich bouquet of volatiles of the sesquiterpene class, with grave effects on plant growth and pathogen resistance. The effect of these sesquiterpene on plant-insect interactions remains yet uncovered. Recently, mutants have been produced that completely lack sesquiterpene production. In my project, I will evaluate the influence of these sesquiterpenes in the interactions between plants and belowground herbivores. This will also include the effects on fungivores and natural enemies of herbivores.

Kollaborationspartner: Petr Karlovsky (Abteilung Molekulare Phytopathologie und Mykotoxinforschung, Universität Göttingen), Artemio Mendoza Mendoza (Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, Neuseeland)

Bearbeitung: Slonka, Rostás