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Tomato Below Ground–Above Ground Interactions: Trichoderma longibrachiatum Affects the Performance of Macrosiphum euphorbiae and Its Natural Antagonists

October 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  10
Pages  1,249 - 1,256

Donatella Battaglia,1 Simone Bossi,2 Pasquale Cascone,3 Maria Cristina Digilio,4 Juliana Duran Prieto,1 Paolo Fanti,1 Emilio Guerrieri,3 Luigi Iodice,3 Guido Lingua,5 Matteo Lorito,4 Massimo E. Maffei,3 Nadia Massa,5 Michelina Ruocco,3 Raffaele Sasso,3 and Vincenzo Trotta1

1Dipartimento di Scienze, Università della Basilicata, Potenza, Italy; 2Unità di Fisiologia Vegetale, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Centro dell'Innovazione, Università di Torino, Via Quarello 15/A, Torino, Italy; 3Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Portici, Napoli, Italy; 4Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Portici (NA), Italy; 5Dipartimento di Scienze e Innovazione Tecnologica, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “A. Avogadro”, Alessandria, Italy


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Accepted 23 May 2013.

Below ground and above ground plant–insect–microorganism interactions are complex and regulate most of the developmental responses of important crop plants such as tomato. We investigated the influence of root colonization by a nonmycorrhizal plant-growth-promoting fungus on direct and indirect defenses of tomato plant against aphids. The multitrophic system included the plant Solanum lycopersicum (‘San Marzano nano’), the root-associated biocontrol fungus Trichoderma longibrachiatum strain MK1, the aphid Macrosiphum euphorbiae (a tomato pest), the aphid parasitoid Aphidius ervi, and the aphid predator Macrolophus pygmaeus. Laboratory bioassays were performed to assess the effect of T. longibrachiatum MK1, interacting with the tomato plant, on quantity and quality of volatile organic compounds (VOC) released by tomato plant, aphid development and reproduction, parasitoid behavior, and predator behavior and development. When compared with the uncolonized controls, plants whose roots were colonized by T. longibrachiatum MK1 showed quantitative differences in the release of specific VOC, better aphid population growth indices, a higher attractiveness toward the aphid parasitoid and the aphid predator, and a quicker development of aphid predator. These findings support the development of novel strategies of integrated control of aphid pests. The species-specific or strain-specific characteristics of these below ground–above ground interactions remain to be assessed.



© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society