A Split-Root Method to Study Systemic and Heritable Traits Induced by Trichoderma in Tomato Plants

  1. Morán-Diez, M. E.
  2. Hermosa, R. 1
  3. de Medeiros, H. A.
  4. Castillo, P.
  5. Monte, E. 1
  6. Rubio, M. B. 1
  1. 1 Department of Microbiology and GeneticsSpanish-Portuguese Institute for Agricultural Research (CIALE), University of SalamancaSalamancaSpain
Methods in Rhizosphere Biology Research

Publisher: Springer

ISSN: 2523-8442

ISBN: 9789811357664

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 151-166

Type: Book chapter

DOI: 10.1007/978-981-13-5767-1_9 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor


The split-root methodology constitutes an excellent tool to study local versus systemic plant-induced responses. In the most common approach, two different organisms coinfect the two separated root halves of a same plant. Split-root plants have been used to study the biocontrol potential of fungi and bacteria by the induction of systemic defenses in the plant against bacterial, fungal, oomycete, and nematode diseases and insect pests. In our particular case study, we applied this methodology to demonstrate the systemic and heritable effects induced by the biocontrol strain Trichoderma atroviride T11 in tomato plants which were tested against the root-knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne javanica (Mj), a major tomato pathogen worldwide. This approach allows Trichoderma and the root pathogen to be kept separate for the analysis of the T11 effects on the penetration, development, and reproduction of Mj in tomato roots upon activating plant systemic responses. The method also enables the plant green mass and nematode infection parameters to be determined and the gene expression analysis related to systemic responses and heritable traits, in terms of defense and growth, induced by T11 when plants are infected with Mj in the progeny of split-root plants.

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