RES E A R C H Open Access
Evaluation of the efficiency of Trichoderma,
Penicillium, and Aspergillus species as
biological control agents against four
soil-borne fungi of melon and watermelon
, Ibtissem Ben Salem and Mahmoud M’Hamdi
Various experiments were carried out to promote biological control under semi-arid ecological conditions. In vitro
assay, Aspergillus flavus seemed to be the most effective bioagent against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum and
Fusarium solani f. sp. cucurbitae with mycelial inhibition rate above 50%. Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger, and
Aspergillus terreus exhibited an exceptional hyperparasitism against F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis. The mycelial growth
of five Macrophomina phaseolina isolates decreased in the presence of Trichoderma harzianum (44.42%). In
greenhouse experiments, both A. flavus and A. fumigatus used preventively of melon inoculated with FOM
generated the highest damage reduction rate of top and root dry weights (40–42 and 51–52%, respectively) and
the lowest disease severity index (DSI). A. flavus was also effective in improving the plant development with the
highest shoot (SDW) and root (RDW) dry weight values. Penicillium digitatum, Trichoderma harzianum, and
Trichoderma viride treated preventively on watermelon and melon plants inoculated with M. phaseolina decreased
the damage of SDW and RDW and DSI. The development rate revealed the growth improvement potential of T.
harzianum (watermelon, 15%) and A. flavus (melon, 12%). Watermelon plants inoculated with F. solani f. sp.
cucurbitae and treated curatively with Trichoderma erinaceum, T. viride, and A. flavus and other inoculated by F.
oxysporum f. sp. niveum and treated by Trichoderma helicum recorded the highest values of growth parameters,
similarly for T. erinaceum on melon plants inoculated by F. solani f. sp. cucurbitae. Among all treatments for plants
inoculated by F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis, those three bioagents T. viride, T. erinaceum, and A. flavus revealed
efficiency in plant growth. Trichoderma harzianum is the best bioagents against cucurbit soil-borne pathogens.
Preventive treatment represents an effective strategy. Dipping roots with bioagent fungi suspension improve a
good interaction pathogen antagonist.
Keywords: Root pathogens, Biological control activity, Fusarium species, Macrophomina phaseolina,Melon,Watermelon
Fusarium species are worldwide pathogenic fungi of
many crop plants. Fusarium oxysporum Schltdl. is one
of the most important phytopathogens causing Fusarium
wilt disease in more than a hundred species of plants
(Boughalleb & El Mahjoub 2006). The disease manage-
ment of Fusarium wilt usually consists of soil fumiga-
tion, seed treatment, use of disease resistant varieties,
and biological control bacteria to reduce infection and
disease severity (Zhang et al. 2008). Fusarium root and
stem rot are regarded as also one of the most devastat-
ing diseases in cucurbits (Pavlou & Vakalounakis 2005).
Due to the persistent nature of these pathogens in soil,
subsequent crops of susceptible melon and watermelon
cultivars increase pathogen populations. The diseases
are best managed with resistant cultivars. However, new
virulent populations (physiological races) may develop in
specific locations. Biological control of soil-borne patho-
gens by microorganisms has been considered a good
environmentally alternative to the chemical treatment
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
Département des Sciences Biologiques et de la Protection des Plantes,
Université de Sousse, Institut Supérieur Agronomique de Chott Meriem
Institut Superieur Agronomique de Chott Mariem, Sousse 4042, Tunisia
Egyptian Journal of
Biological Pest Control
© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Boughalleb-M’Hamdi et al. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control (2018) 28:25