Modern-day tomatoes may have lost their ability to benefit from a beneficial fungus called Trichoderma harzianum. A study out of Purdue University looked at the impact of the fungus on 25 different tomato genotypes, from old to new and even wild tomato varieties. The results widely varied with some varieties being negatively impacted by the fungus.
In the latest episode of the Making Sense of Biologicals series, Purdue University Associate Professor of Horticulture and research lead Lori Hoagland discussed both the very positive and negative results of the study. For instance, some of the wild-type varieties saw 526 percent more root growth than untreated. “Yeah, it was pretty incredible. We were quite shocked to see that,” Hoagland said. “We think it goes back to these wild plants, out in an environment where they’re probably not getting the nutrients and the things they normally need and so they have had to evolve these relationships with these types of organisms.”
The plants were then inoculated with diseases and the beneficial fungus did hurt some of the varieties, including modern-day types, which is concerning as Trichoderma harzianum is in some biological products. “In some cases, they were actually more apt to get the disease,” Hoagland said. “We think that the plants were in some way harmed, like maybe too much of a good thing around, and it made them more susceptible to the disease. That’s definitely not what the growers are wanting.”
Listen to the entire episode with Purdue University’s Lori Hoagland.
‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.
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