Some aspects of biological control of seed storage fungi.
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Under storage conditions of ambient temperature and relative humidity in South Africa, seed-associated mycoflora proliferates. Fusarium moniliforme is ubiquitous in newly-harvested maize, persisting for variable periods in storage, while Aspergillus flavus may represent the final group of species in the succession of aspergilli after grain storage under high temperature and/or high humidity. Many strains of these fungi produce toxigenic secondary metabolites (mycotoxins) under local storage conditions. Since pathogenic fungi may be present within the tissues of stored seeds, these contaminants will not be eradicated by external fungicide treatment, therefore a possible alternative is biological control. The aim of the present investigation was to ascertain whether certain strains and/or species of Trichoderma have potential as biocontrol agents against the seed-associated pathogenic fungi, Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium moniliforme. A study of the fungal growth in dual cultures revealed that from nine isolates of Trichoderma spp. (T harzianum and T viride), four had a noticeable inhibitory effect on the growth of the pathogenic fungi. Scanning electron microscopical investigation of fungal interaction demonstrated no obvious hyphal penetration by - Trichoderma spp. In addition, significant alteration of Fusarium hyphae, with pronounced collapse and loss of turgor, and production of aberrant conidial heads and microheads by A. flavus were observed. Evidence derived from some biochemical studies revealed that antibiosis (by production of extracellular enzymes, volatile compounds and possible antibiotics) is probably the mechanism involved in the antagonistic effect of the four aggressive Trichoderma spp. The in vitro studies demonstrated that the use of Trichoderma spp. as biocontrol agents against A. flavus and F. moniliforme appears promising.
- Masters Degrees (Botany)