Efficient fungus paralyzes and kills pathogens that cause losses in cotton crops

Specialists at the Center of Genomic Biotechnology from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN-CBG) in Mexico, identified beneficial fungi that were already tested as disease control agents in cotton crops. Among them is Trichoderma koningiopsis, which kills the parasite or pathogens that attack the plant.

Originally from Mexico, cotton in the Northeast of the country reached growth up to 300,000 hectares a year, but stopped being cultivated because of the high consumption of chemicals, to pests, insects and diseases that made the production unprofitable.

José Luis Hernández Mendoza, at the Laboratory of Experimental Biotechnology, explains that this region was isolated and the fungus Trichoderma koningiopsis was to counter the scourge of Phymatotrichum omnívora, which generates the Texas rot, main disease of the plant.

According to the polytechnic specialist, Trichoderma koningiopsis in some cases combats or prevents the growth of pathogens that attack cotton plant as P. omnívora, Fusarium spp and Macrophomina phaseolina.

P. omnívora (Texas rot) is a disease in northern Mexico and southern United States, which attacks more than 200 plant species, causing infection in the root, preventing movement of the sap; infected plant present decay, wilting and death.

The specialist says that the fungus Trichoderma koningiopsis in some cases prevents the growth of the phytopathogenic culture and serves as a fungicide. "It prevents its development, inoculating them on the stem of the cotton plants in a greenhouse. The result shows that this fungus increases biomass of the plant ".

Furthermore, the fungus Trichoderma koningiopsis may inhibit growth of a pathogen, or parasite, that destroys the cotton plant, is also inoculant as it produces indole acetic acid when mixed with the seed before planting. In this way, it prevents the development of diseases and stimulates plant growth in a single application.

This research states that the prevention of the disease (Texas rot) has been achieved by implementing the rotation of crops, particularly soybeans, sorghum, cabbage, onion and garlic that produce substances that prevent the "installation" of harmful fungi.

The specialist noted that the use and handling of this process involves user training in handling Trichoderma and adopting a technology package as do the producers of sorghum and corn in this region.

He considers important to train cotton producers to know the mode of action of the fungus, seed treatment and evaluation of lots within their own plots.

The research was conducted at the Experimental Biotechnology Laboratory, where science teacher Jesus Quiroz Velásquez, Jesús García Olivares and students from Environmental Engineering from the Autonomous University of the state of Tamaulipas also participated. (Agencia ID)

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