European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 91–103 | Cite as

Assessment of the antifungal activity of selected biocontrol agents and their secondary metabolites against Fusarium graminearum

  • Abbas El-HasanEmail author
  • Jochen Schöne
  • Birgit Höglinger
  • Frank Walker
  • Ralf T. Voegele


Fusarium graminearum (teleomorph: Gibberella zeae) is the causal agent of several destructive diseases in cereal crops worldwide. In the present study we have evaluated the potential of two strains of Trichoderma sp. (T23, and T16), a strain of Paecilomyces sp. (PS1), and their secondary metabolites (SMs) in suppressing F. graminearum. Results from dual culture experiments show that in the presence of either Trichoderma sp., or Paecilomyces sp. mycelial growth of F. graminearum is considerably inhibited. Strain T23 causes the greatest inhibition (83.8%), followed by strain T16 (72.2%), and strain PS1 (61.9%). Likewise, mycelial growth of the pathogen is completely inhibited ( 98%) when grown under exposure to volatile metabolites excreted from Trichoderma cultures. Bioautographic analyses using culture filtrates revealed that several antifungal SMs are excreted. Among five metabolites tested, 6-pentyl-alpha-pyrone (6PAP) from strain T23, and PF3 from strain PS1 exhibit pronounced antifungal activity against F. graminearum. A new method for mass production of perithecia of F. graminearum which is simple and more effective than traditional methods was developed, which allows an increase in perithecial formation of more than 5-fold. Using this method, we found, that in the presence of SMs perithecial formation was negatively affected. Perithecial production was suppressed by 81.4% and 76.6% using 200 μg ml−1 of either 6PAP or PF3, respectively. Moreover, ascospore discharge was significantly suppressed (67.0%) when perithecia were exposed to the metabolite F116 produced by T16. Including 6PAP or PF3 in conidial suspensions impeded germination of conidia completely. Similarly, both metabolites strongly inhibited ascospore germination (˃ 90%).


Trichoderma Paecilomyces Biocontrol Secondary metabolites Bioautography 



Financial support through the Alexander von Humboldt foundation for the first author is gratefully appreciated (Grant Number: 3.4-SYR/1150911 STP).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with submission to European Journal of Plant Pathology. The research was conducted in the absence of any commercial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest and the authors have nothing to declare.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas El-Hasan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jochen Schöne
    • 1
  • Birgit Höglinger
    • 1
  • Frank Walker
    • 1
  • Ralf T. Voegele
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Phytopathology, Institute of Phytomedicine (360), Faculty of Agricultural SciencesUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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