In vitro water activity and pH dependence of mycelial growth and extracellular enzyme activities of Trichoderma strains with biocontrol potential

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Aims: Water activity (aw) and pH are probably the most important environmental parameters affecting the activities of mycoparasitic Trichoderma strains. Therefore it is important to collect information on the effects of these factors on mycelial growth and on the in vitro activities of extracellular enzymes involved in nutrient competition (e.g. β-glucosidase, cellobiohydrolase and β-xylosidase) and mycoparasitism (e.g. N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase, trypsin-like protease and chymotrypsin-like protease) of Trichoderma strains with biocontrol potential. Methods and Results: Water activity and pH dependence of the linear mycelial growth of five examined Trichoderma strains belonging to three different species groups was examined on yeast extract and soil extract media. Maximal growth rates were observed at aw 0.997 and pH 4.0 in the case of all strains. The activities of the examined extracellular enzymes at different aw and pH values were determined spectrophotometrically after incubation with chromogenic p-nitrophenyl and p-nitroaniline substrates. Maximal enzyme activities were measured at aw 0.950 for β-glucosidase, trypsin-like protease and chymotrypsin-like protease, at 0.910 for cellobiohydrolase and at 0.993 for β-xylosidase and N-acetyl-β- glucosaminidase enzymes. Optimal pH values are suggested to be at 5.0 for β-glucosidase, cellobiohydrolase and N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase, at 3.0 for β-xylosidase, at 6.0 for trypsin-like protease and between 6.0 and 7.0 for chymotrypsin-like protease activities, respectively. Conclusions: Extracellular enzymes of the examined mycoparasitic Trichoderma strains are able to display activities under a wider range of aw and pH values than those allowing mycelial growth. Significance and Impact of the Study: Data about the effects of aw and pH on mycelial growth and extracellular enzyme activities of Trichoderma reveal useful information about the applicability of biocontrol strains in agricultural soils with specific water and pH relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-498
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 16 2004


  • Biocontrol
  • Extracellular enzymes
  • Mycoparasitism
  • Trichoderma
  • Water activity
  • pH dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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