Biocontrol Potential of Forest Tree Endophytes

  • Eeva Terhonen
  • Andriy Kovalchuk
  • Artin Zarsav
  • Fred O. AsiegbuEmail author
Part of the Forestry Sciences book series (FOSC, volume 86)


In the natural forest environment, the spread of pathogens may have dramatic effects on ecosystem functioning. To successfully control devastating forest pathogens, application of endophytes as biocontrol agents is an emerging area of research. There are several ways by which endophytic microorganisms can protect their tree hosts against pathogens. Endophytes promote plant growth by producing beneficial secondary metabolites (e.g. phytohormones) or providing nutrients (e.g. phosphorus). Endophytes can compete with pathogens and herbivores by successfully utilizing available substrates (colonization of shared niche can restrict pathogen invasion), or endophytes can produce antagonistic metabolites. Endophytes can enhance plant resistance by triggering and priming host defensive reactions. Endophytes could provide several opportunities for application in integrated pest management (IPM) to gain sustainable forestry practices. To utilize endophytes as biocontrol agents, the mechanisms behind the possible mode of action should be determined. Novel advances in cultivation-independent techniques including next generation sequencing technology (NGS), association analyses and network inference modelling will greatly facilitate identification of endophytes and unravel potential beneficial functions of endophytic communities. A further understanding of these mechanisms could help to minimize the use of environmental harming chemicals in plant and forest tree protection. We propose simple guidelines that could facilitate the use of fungal endophytes as biocontrol agents and simultaneously study their ecological functions.



1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid


N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone


Biocontrol agents


Brain Heart infusion medium


Clavicipitaceous endophytes


Dutch elm tree disease


Dark septate endophytes


Double-stranded RNA


Ethyl acetate


High performance liquid chromatography


Indole-3-acetic acid


Integrated pest management


Induced systemic resistance


Internal transcribed spacer


Jasmonic acid




King’s B agar


Luria agar


Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry


Malt extract agar


Mass spectrometry


Metagenome-wide association studies




Non-clavicipitaceous endophytes


Next generation sequencing


Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy




Phialocephala fortinii s.l.- Acephala applanata Species complex


Potato dextrose agar


Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria


Plant protection product

PR proteins

Pathogenesis-related proteins


Restriction fragment length polymorphism


Salicylic acid


Systemic acquired resistance


Tryptic soy agar


Verticillium wilt of olive trees


Yeast Peptone Dextrose Agar


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eeva Terhonen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andriy Kovalchuk
    • 1
  • Artin Zarsav
    • 1
  • Fred O. Asiegbu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Georg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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