First, second, and fourth authors: Departments of Horticultural Sciences and Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456; and third author: Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
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Accepted for publication 5 September 2003.
Seed treatment with Trichoderma harzianum strain T22, which results in colonization of plant roots but little or no colonization of shoots or leaves, had substantial effects on growth of and disease expression in maize inbred line Mo17. Shoots and roots of 10-day-old seedlings grown in a sandy loam field soil were larger (roots were nearly twice as long) in the presence of T22 than in its absence. Both main and secondary roots were increased in size and area and the root hair area was greater with T22. However, root hair area per unit of root length was greater in control plants. Increased growth probably was due to direct stimulation of plant growth in addition to effects from biological control of deleterious microflora. Seedlings of Mo17 grown in autoclaved or mefenoxamtreated sandy loam field soil were larger than those produced in untreated soil. However, seedlings grown in the presence of T22, either in treated or untreated soil, were larger than those produced in its absence. Infestation of soil with Pythium ultimum had little effect upon growth of Mo17. The presence of T22 increased protein levels and activities of β-1,3 glucanase, exochitinase, and endochitinase in both roots and shoots, even though T22 colonized roots well but colonized shoots hardly at all. With some enzymes, the combination of T22 plus P. ultimum gave the greatest activity. Plants grown from T22-treated seed had reduced symptoms of anthracnose following inoculation of leaves with Colletotrichum graminicola, which indicates that root colonization by T22 induces systemic resistance in maize.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society