The production of bioactive polypeptides (peptaibiotics) in vivo is a sophisticated adaptation strategy of both mycoparasitic and saprotrophic Trichoderma species for colonizing and defending their natural habitats. This feature is of major practical importance, as the detection of peptaibiotics in plant‐protective Trichoderma species, which are successfully used against economically relevant bacterial and fungal plant pathogens, certainly contributes to a better understanding of these complex antagonistic interactions. We analyzed five commercial biocontrol agents (BCAs), namely Canna®, Trichosan®, Vitalin®, Promot® WP, and TrichoMax®, formulated with recently described species of the Trichoderma harzianum complex, viz. T. afroharzianum, T. simmonsii, and T. guizhouense. By using the well‐established, HPLC/MS‐based peptaibiomics approach, it could unequivocally be demonstrated that all of these formulations contained new and recurrent peptaibols, i.e., peptaibiotics carrying an acetylated N‐terminus, the C‐terminus of which is reduced to a 1,2‐amino alcohol. Their chain lengths, including the amino alcohol, were 11, 14, and 18 residues, respectively. Peptaibols were also to be the dominating secondary metabolites in plate cultures of the four strains obtained from four of the Trichoderma‐ based BCAs, contributing 95% of the UHPLC‐UV/VIS peak areas and 99% of the total ion count MS peak area from solid media. Furthermore, species‐specific hydrophobins, as well as non‐peptaibiotic secondary metabolites, were detected, the latter being known for their antifungal, siderophore, or plant‐growth‐promoting activities. Notably, none of the isolates produced low‐molecular weight mycotoxins.
- Trichoderma harzianum complex
- Secondary metabolites