T-22: A beneficial fungus helping roots

A research project by Thomas Björkman and Gary Harman
Department of Horticultrual Sciences, Cornell University


A beneficial fungus: Trichoderma harzianum 1295-22, was developed to have properties neccesary for commercial use to protect crops. 

This is a significant breakthrough that should lead to many more effective biocontrol fungi. 

So far this is the only fungal strain shown to colonize abundantly and persistently under a wide range of conditions. 

Trichoderma harzianum growing on root hairs and soil particles in the rhizosphere.

The challenge: Soil-borne pathogens are among the most difficult to control, in part because of the stability of the soil biota. Even fungicides have no lasting effect. Biological control has the potential to protect crops against soil pathogens, while reducing pesticide use.

Background: There are several biocontrol agents being developed, but these have not been sufficiently persistent in the soil to provide season-long control. However, a strain of the fungus Trichoderma, developed at Cornell over the last 10 years, has outstanding root-colonizing potential that permits long-term alteration of the soil microflora and enhances the vigor of crop seedlings. This uniquely effective strain of Trichoderma is now commercially available under the trade name "T-22." More background information.

What this project does: To realize the potential of this biocontrol agent, it is necessary to find the appropriate ways to deliver it in agricultural production. Identifying reliable ways of using this biocontrol agent in various production systems will improve environmental sustainability by reducing pesticide use and enhancing the soil microflora. It will improve economic sustainability by increasing yields and reducing the cost of protecting crops against soil-borne diseases.


The following grower information is available:
The proper way to use T-22 and some uses for T-22. 
Keeping your roots healthy.
The experiments we did and the project objectives.
Organic Farming : Will T-22 work in my biologically active soil?
Overwintering: Can I grow T-22 on cover crops to carry it over?
Results: Results of the experiments.


Thomas Bjorkman homepage