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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #391523

Research Project: Sustaining Productivity and Ecosystem Services of Agricultural and Horticultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Improving yield and health of legume crops via co-inoculation with rhizobia and Trichoderma: A global meta-analysis

item BARBOSA, JULIERME - Federal University Of Minas Gerais
item Prior, Stephen - Steve
item MOURA, MARIA - Federal University Of Minas Gerais
item POGGERE, GIOVANA - Federal University Of Technology - Parana
item MOTTA, ANTONIO - Federal University Of Parana Polytechnic Center

Submitted to: Applied Soil Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2022
Publication Date: 4/7/2022
Citation: Barbosa, J.Z., Hungria, M., Prior, S.A., Moura, M.C., Poggere, G., Motta, A.C. 2022. Improving yield and health of legume crops via co-inoculation with rhizobia and Trichoderma: A global meta-analysis. Applied Soil Ecology. 176:104493.

Interpretive Summary: This meta-analysis of co-inoculation of rhizobia and Trichoderma spp. in legumes showed that this technology provides multiple plant benefits compared to inoculation with rhizobia alone. Co-inoculation improved disease control, the root system and nodulation (growth and activity) that contributed to more N in shoots and grain. Co-inoculation showed agronomic efficiency even under contrasting conditions such as variations in legume species, rhizobia genus and Trichoderma species, co-inoculation methods, plant health status, field or pot experiments, and other edaphic factors. Plants had superior response to co-inoculation when Trichoderma spp. was inoculated via soil and using liquid formulations. In summary, co-inoculation in legumes shows potential for improving economic and environmental aspects of agroecosystems, indicating use should be encouraged as scientific and technological improvement are sought.

Technical Abstract: Trichoderma is a genus of fungi used for biological control and plant growth promotion, however, effects of co-inoculation with rhizobia in legumes still requires detailed analysis. This study conducted a global meta-analysis of 59 published studies (1992–2021) on co-inoculation of legumes with rhizobia and Trichoderma spp. to assess factors affecting efficiency compared to inoculation exclusively with rhizobia. Co-inoculation favored plants by reducing disease incidence (-44%) and increasing root mass (+17%), nodule number (+32%), nodule mass (+37%), nodule nitrogenase activity (+35%), shoot nitrogen content (+8%), and grain yield (+14%). Co-inoculation of legumes can decrease root diseases caused by Fusarium spp., Rhizoctonia spp., Macrophomina phaseolina, Pythium debaryanum and Sclerotium rolfsii and also has potential as a plant growth promoter regardless of plant health. Positive effects of co-inoculation on grain yield and root mass were observed under most evaluated factors (e.g., differences in legume species and microorganisms, co-inoculation methods, experimental conditions, plant health status, and edaphic factors). Co-inoculation with rhizobia and Trichoderma spp. may contribute to sustainable intensification of legume production systems due to multiple plant benefits under a wide range of conditions.