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Individual-Based Approach to Modeling Hyphal Growth of a Biocontrol Fungus in Soil

October 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  10
Pages  1,108 - 1,115

G. R. Knudsen , J. P. Stack , S. O. Schuhmann , K. Orr , and C. LaPaglia

Soil and Land Resources Division, University of Idaho, Moscow 83844; Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, 4024 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Manhattan 66506

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Accepted for publication 9 May 2006.

Fungi in soil perform beneficial roles that include biological control of soilborne plant pathogens. However, relatively little predictive information is available about the growth and activity of fungal hyphae in soil habitats. A stochastic computer simulation model (“Fungmod”) was developed to predict hyphal growth of the biocontrol fungus Trichoderma harzianum ThzID1 in soil. The model simulates a fungal colony as a population of spatially referenced hyphal segments, and is individual-based, in that records of spatial location and branching hierarchy are maintained for individual hyphal nodes. In this way, the entire spatial structure of the fungal colony (hyphal network) can be explicitly reconstructed at any point in time. Also, the soil habitat is modeled as a population of spatially referenced 1-mm3 soil cells, allowing for the simulation of a spatially heterogeneous environment. Initial hyphal growth parameters were derived from previously published results, and the model was tested against new data derived from image analysis of hyphal biomass accumulation in soil. The ability to predict fungal growth in natural habitats will help to improve the predictability of successful myco-parasitic events in biological control systems.

Additional keywords: microbial ecology.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society