European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 177–189 | Cite as

The Role of Trichoderma harzianum Protease in the Biocontrol of Botrytis cinerea

  • Y. Elad
  • A. Kapat


The role of protease of Trichoderma harzianum in the biocontrol of Botrytis cinerea was examined. Two isolates of T. harzianum were compared for their ability to produce protease in liquid culture medium and on the surface of bean leaves. The biocontrol agent T. harziaum T39 produced 58 mU/ml of protease and T. harzianum NCIM1185 produced 54 mU/ml on the 5th day of growth in liquid culture medium. On bean leaves, combinations of B. cinerea and T. harzianum isolates were examined for the synthesis of protease. The protease activities were 0.9 and 0.6 mU/ml for T. harzianum T39 and NCIM1185, respectively, and 0.5 mU/ml for B. cinerea alone after 48 h of incubation. In the presence of T. harzianum T39 culture liquid containing protease, a 55% reduction in B. cinerea germination and a 80% reduction in the germ tube length were observed after 17 h of incubation in vitro. When T. harzianum isolates were added to B. cinerea on bean leaves, increased synthesis of protease was observed (1.0 and 1.2 mU/ml for T39 and NCIM1185, respectively). In the presence of T. harzianum NCIM1185 protease, although the rate of germination was reduced, B. cinerea attained 98% germination after 17 h of incubation. The hydrolytic enzymes produced by B. cinerea, endo-polygalacturonase (PG) and exoPG were partially deactivated by protease from the T. harzianum isolates. Carboxymethyl cellulase was deactivated only by protease of NCIM1185. On the surface of bean leaves, the protease (obtained from liquid culture medium of T. harzianum isolates) resulted in 56–100% reduction of disease severity. The culture liquid containing protease synthesized on the surface of bean leaves treated with B. cinerea and with T. harzianum was collected and added to fresh leaves infected by B. cinerea. There was 56–100% and 30–75% reduction of disease severity with liquid droplet collected from the leaves treated with T. harzianum T39 and NCIM1185, respectively. Increased control of disease was obtained by combining the conidia of T. harzianum isolates with protease obtained from culture media. Protease inhibitors, trans-epoxysuccinyl-L-leucylamido-(4-guanidino)butane (E64), antipain hydrochloride, and a mixture of inhibitors, but not pepstatin A, fully or partially nullified the biocontrol effect of T39. T39 was found to be a poor producer of chitinase and β-1,3-glucanase in vitro. These enzymes were not detected on leaves treated with T39. Involvement of protease in biocontrol of B. cinerea is suggested.

biological control grey mould mechanisms pathogenicity enzymes proteolysis 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology, Institute of Plant Protection, ARO, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael (E-mail

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