What is Trichoderma?
There are many beneficial fungi in the soil . Many of these are in the genus Trichoderma. Most Trichoderma live in the soil, but some prefer the root surface. They consume other fungi, decaying organic matter and nutrients secreted from plant roots. Various Trichoderma species are prevalent in well-made compost.
Trichoderma is beneficial for biological control of soilborne diseases because is suppresses or kills pathogenic fungi. It does so both through antibiosis (making compounds that are poisonous to other fungi) and through mycoparasitism (consuming other fungi).
What is T-22?
T-22 is a strain of the species Trichoderma harzianum that was developed at Cornell to have superior biological control properties. It is the result of a vegetative hybridization between two promising strains that had been isolated earlier. The crossing and selection work were done by A. Sivan, Tom Stasz and Gary Harman in Professor Harman's lab in 1985.
What makes T-22 special?
T-22 was developed to have two properties that are unusual. First, it has especially high ability to colonize plant roots. This property, called "rhizosphere competence," is fairly unusual. Second, it produces especially much endochitinase, and enzyme that enables it to consume pathogenic fungi. T-22 is therefore present in high populations where it has been introduced, and it parasitizes certain disease-causing fungi. It is especially effective against Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Pythium.
T-22 is now being used in commercial agriculture. A Cornell spin-off company, BioWorks, raises and sells the product.