Application of DNA bar codes for screening of industrially important fungi: The haplotype of Trichoderma harzianum sensu stricto indicates superior chitinase formation

Viviana Nagy, Verena Seidl, George Szakacs, Monika Komon-Zelazowska, Christian P. Kubicek, Irina S. Druzhinina

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Selection of suitable strains for biotechnological purposes is frequently a random process supported by high-throughput methods. Using chitinase production by Hypocrea lixii/Trichoderma harzianum as a model, we tested whether fungal strains with superior enzyme formation may be diagnosed by DNA bar codes. We analyzed sequences of two phylogenetic marker loci, internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and ITS2 of the rRNA-encoding gene cluster and the large intron of the elongation factor 1-alpha gene, tef1, from 50 isolates of H. lixii/T. harzianum, which were also tested to determine their ability to produce chitinases in solid-state fermentation (SSF). Statistically supported superior chitinase production was obtained for strains carrying one of the observed ITS1 and ITS2 and tef1 alleles corresponding to an allele of T. harzianum type strain CBS 226.95. A tef1 -based DNA bar code tool, TrichoCHIT, for rapid identification of these strains was developed. The geographic origin of the strains was irrelevant for chitinase production. The improved chitinase production by strains containing this haplotype was not due to better growth on TV-acetyl-β-D-glucosamine or glucosamine. Isoenzyme electrophoresis showed that neither the isoenzyme profile of N-aceryl-β-glucosaminidases or the endochitinases nor the intensity of staining of individual chitinase bands correlated with total chitinase in the culture filtrate. The superior chitinase producers did not exhibit similarly increased cellulase formation. Biolog Phenotype MicroArray analysis identified lack of N-acetyl-β-D-mannosamine utilization as a specific trait of strains with the chitinase-overproducing haplotype. This observation was used to develop a plate screening assay for rapid microbiological identification of the strains. The data illustrate that desired industrial properties may be an attribute of certain populations within a species, and screening procedures should thus include a balanced mixture of all genotypes of a given species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7048-7058
Number of pages11
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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