Principal Investigators: Louise-Marie Dandurand, Guy Knudsen
Trichoderma expressing green fluorescent protein
(Yeoung-Seuk Bae photo)
Plectosphaerella expressing red fluorescent protein
(Tim Johnson photo)
Several beneficial fungi have been identified as potential biological control (biocontrol) agents against PCN. These include Plectosphaerella
(a known nematode-attacking fungus which we isolated from field cysts) and Trichoderma harzianum
(which produces the enzyme chitinase that degrades chitin, an important structural component of PCN cysts). Our research includes isolation, characterization, and testing of these control agents in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field. Using techniques of molecular biology, we have also transormed these fungi with fluorescent marker genes to help evaluate their mode of action and efficacy in the laboratory and greenhouse.
In field trials in the summer of 2012, we formulated our (wild-type) Trichoderma
isolate and applied it to soil in a PCN-infested potato field, which was then planted to barley. After several weeks, the biocontrol agent was consistently recovered from the barley rhizosphere, indicating successful field establishment. We are currently evaluating the biocontrol agent’s effect on PCN cysts in that field.