Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Sciences

First Advisor

Fakhoury, Ahmad

Second Advisor

Bond, Jason


Soybean crops are vulnerable to a wide range of pathogens that reduce yield and cause extensive losses worldwide. In the United States, the soilborne pathogens Pythium spp., causing soybean damping-off, and Fusarium virguliforme, causing sudden death syndrome (SDS) of soybean, have been among the top diseases that most reduced soybean yields. This study demonstrated that biological control using native fungal antagonists could be a powerful tool to integrate with current management strategies for more efficient control of Pythium damping-off and SDS in soybean. Trichoderma spp. and Clonostachys rosea demonstrated the ability to mycoparasitize and antagonize the pathogens using different mechanisms and exhibited a protective effect on soybean in field conditions. The development of an efficient biological control program for disease management relies on a deep understanding of the BCA-pathogen interaction’s biology. This research also uncovered the molecular mechanisms involved in the F. virguliforme-T. afroharzianum interaction by using a dual RNAseq approach. Significant changes in both fungal organisms’ transcriptomes were discovered at different stages in their interaction. The results provided here can contribute to the future implementation of effective biological control programs for soybean. The benefits may also extend to other crops.

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