Biotech Updates

Trichoderma Gene Expressed in Strawberry Confers Fungal Diseases Resistance but Affects Plant Growth

November 18, 2015

The expression of antifungal genes from Trichoderma harzianum has been used to confer plant resistance to fungal diseases. However, the potential of glucanase genes from Trichoderma has been scarcely studied. The team of José A. Mercado of Universidad de Málaga in Spain developed transgenic strawberry plants expressing the glucanase gene bgn13.1 from T. harzianum.

Transgenic lines were inoculated with Colletotrichum acutatum, which causes anthracnose. Transgenic lines showed fewer symptoms than control plants. Some transgenic lines even showed enhanced resistance to Rosellinia necatrix, a soil-borne pathogen causing root and crown rot in strawberry. However, some transgenic lines showed stunted growth and reduced yield due to both a reduced number of fruits per plant and smaller fruit size.

Results show that bgn13.1 from T. harzianum can be used to increase strawberry tolerance to crown rot diseases, but also affects plant growth and fruit yield. Alternative strategies such as tissue specific promoters may be used to avoid the negative effects of bgn13.1 expression.

For more on the study, read the article in Transgenic Research.