Studying the effects of microbial volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on plant growth is challenging because the production of volatiles depends on many environmental factors. Adding to this complexity, the method of volatile exposure itself can lead to different responses in plants and may account for some of the contrasting results. In this work, we present an improved experimental design, a plate-within-a-plate method, to study the effects of VOCs produced by filamentous fungi. We demonstrate that the plant growth response to VOCs is dependent on the age of the plant and fungal cultures. Plants exposed to volatiles emitted by 5-day-old Trichoderma atroviride for 14 days exhibited inhibition, while plants exposed to other exposure conditions had growth promotion or no significant change. Using GC–MS, we compared fungal volatile emission of 5-day-old and 14-day-old T. atroviride. As the fungi aged, a few compounds were no longer detected, but 24 new compounds were discovered.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Plant growth
- Volatile organic compounds (VOC)