For a decade, horticulturists have been using Trichoderma spp. to make ornamental and vegetable plants more resilient to pathogens. Trichoderma asperellum T34 is a specially selected strain that is heat tolerant and particularly strong against Fusarium and Pythium.
How does it exactly work? As Trichoderma strain T34 grows around the roots, it competes with pathogenic fungi such as Fusarium for food and space, so pathogens have no chance of getting into the roots. Asperello T34 Biocontrol does even more. The fungus can also parasitize the pathogens and degrade the cell walls. Its mere presence around the roots also boosts plant natural defences.
A healthier root system
Sarah van Beneden, Product Manager Microbials at Biobest, points out that the biological fungicide Asperello T34 Biocontrol can be the solution against soil pathogens that many ornamental growers are looking for. “We have conducted trials on cyclamen, poinsettia and chrysanthemum crops in the US and Europe. The graphs show the outstanding performance of Asperello T34 Biocontrol. It provided healthy plants with strong root systems. This Trichoderma product successfully colonises a variety of substrates, including peat, coir, rock wool, perlite and bark.”
Every 12 weeks throughout the cultivation period
Biobest advises growers to use the product preventively. “The fungus should colonise the roots before the pathogens, so it is best to protect the plants from the very beginning. We recommend to start using of Asperello T34 Biocontrol at the propagation stage and re-inoculate at transplanting. The product must be replenished every 12 weeks. This can be conveniently done through the irrigation system because Asperello T34 Biocontrol dissolves well. We received very satisfactory feedback from customers. It does not cause any clogging.”
Authorisation varies by country
Asperello T34 Biocontrol is considered a plant protection product in Europe and the USA. After the presentation and careful screening of the dossiers and toxicological/ecotoxicological data, Asperello T34 Biocontrol has been approved for use in several countries, however each one has its own regulations and requirements, therefore, the crop and disease range vary by country.
In the United States, it is registered for the use in greenhouse ornamentals against Fusarium, Pythium, Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia. In France, it is registered for the entire ornamental sector (under protection) against Fusarium and for Pythium control in tomato, cucumbers, sweet peppers and eggplants; in Belgium, for annual ornamentals against Fusarium and against Pythium in those vegetables. In the Netherlands, the product is officially registered only against Fusarium in carnations and against Pythium in key vegetables.
Sarah van Beneden: “Biobest is working to broaden the authorisation in ornamentals in Belgium and the Netherlands, and to vegetables in the United States.” Biobest is working closely on this product with the company Biocontrol Technologies that developed this Trichoderma strain after research conducted by the University of Barcelona.
Trial with chrysanthemum in the United States
The plants of the Fusarium-sensitive cultivar ‘Allegra’ were artificially infected with Fusarium. The substrate for the plants was treated with Asperello T34 Biocontrol. The product showed a similar score as the healthy control and thus proved better than the Trichoderma reference. The trial was conducted at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, Riverhead, New York.
Trial with poinsettia in the United States
In a trial at a poinsettia nursery in the United States, Asperello T34 Biocontrol showed to be equivalent to the Trichoderma reference and better than the chemical reference. And Asperello T34 Biocontrol has the advantage that it dissolves very easily, it is more concentrated for a faster protection, lasts long and is heat tolerant, in addition, it is very economical.