Towards the biological control of devastating forest pathogens from the genus Armillaria

Liqiong Chen, Bettina Bóka, Orsolya Kedves, Viktor Dávid Nagy, Attila Szucs, Simang Champramary, Róbert Roszik, Zoltán Patocskai, Martin Münsterkötter, Thu Huynh, Boris Indic, Csaba Vágvölgyi, György Sipos, László Kredics

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Research Highlights: A large scale effort to screen, characterize, and select Trichoderma strains with the potential to antagonize Armillaria species revealed promising candidates for field applications. Background and Objectives: Armillaria species are among the economically most relevant soilborne tree pathogens causing devastating root diseases worldwide. Biocontrol agents are environment-friendly alternatives to chemicals in restraining the spread of Armillaria in forest soils. Trichoderma species may efficiently employ diverse antagonistic mechanisms against fungal plant pathogens. The aim of this paper is to isolate indigenous Trichoderma strains from healthy and Armillaria-damaged forests, characterize them, screen their biocontrol properties, and test selected strains under field conditions. Materials and Methods: Armillaria and Trichoderma isolates were collected from soil samples of a damaged Hungarian oak and healthy Austrian spruce forests and identified to the species level. In vitro antagonism experiments were performed to determine the potential of the Trichoderma isolates to control Armillaria species. Selected biocontrol candidates were screened for extracellular enzyme production and plant growth-promoting traits. A field experiment was carried out by applying two selected Trichoderma strains on two-year-old European Turkey oak seedlings planted in a forest area heavily overtaken by the rhizomorphs of numerous Armillaria colonies. Results: Although A. cepistipes and A. ostoyae were found in the Austrian spruce forests, A. mellea and A. gallica clones dominated the Hungarian oak stand. A total of 64 Trichoderma isolates belonging to 14 species were recovered. Several Trichoderma strains exhibited in vitro antagonistic abilities towards Armillaria species and produced siderophores and indole-3-acetic acid. Oak seedlings treated with T. virens and T. atrobrunneum displayed better survival under harsh soil conditions than the untreated controls. Conclusions: Selected native Trichoderma strains, associated with Armillaria rhizomorphs, which may also have plant growth promoting properties, are potential antagonists of Armillaria spp., and such abilities can be exploited in the biological control of Armillaria root rot.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1013
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Antagonism
  • Armillaria
  • Biocontrol
  • Indole-3-acetic acid
  • Root rot
  • Siderophore
  • Trichoderma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry

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    Chen, L., Bóka, B., Kedves, O., Nagy, V. D., Szucs, A., Champramary, S., Roszik, R., Patocskai, Z., Münsterkötter, M., Huynh, T., Indic, B., Vágvölgyi, C., Sipos, G., & Kredics, L. (2019). Towards the biological control of devastating forest pathogens from the genus Armillaria. Forests, 10(11), [1013].