Published November 27, 2023 | Version v1
Publication Open

Composted plant residue amendments in integration with Trichoderma asperellum suppresses above-ground diseases and improves the growth of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.)

  • 1. Cocoa Research Group, Faculty of Agriculture, Hasanuddin University, Makassar 90245 Indonesia
  • 2. School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, United Kingdom ORCID:


Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) suffers severe losses due to infectious and non-infectious diseases. This work reports the potential of three formulations of plant residues compost in integration with Trichoderma asperellum to reduce these cacao diseases. All formula consisted of gliricidia and rice straw. In addition, the first compost contained empty stalks of oil palm fruit, the second contained billygoat weed, and the third compost had coconut husks. These three composts formula plus T. asperellum were applied through soil amendment. Then, their impact was evaluated on significant above-ground diseases, specifically VSD (vascular streak dieback) and (PPR Phytophthora pod rot), NPK availability for the plant, and decreased Ni content in the plant. The efficacy of first, second, and third compost plus T. asperelum in controlling VSD was 73%, 68%, 72%, and PPR 65%, 51%, and 59%, respectively five months post-application in the first year. In the second year, the efficacy against the disease was higher than in the first year. It was 83%, 75%, and 58% for VSD and 69%, 61%, and 78% for PPR, respectively. Moreover, the treatments increased pod production and P content in the leaves, while N and K content rose just in treating the second and third compost plus Trichoderma. Ni content only decreased in the treatment of the first compost plus Trichoderma. These data showed that especially first compost in integration with T. asperellum treatment suppressed above ground diseases and increased cacao pod production. Therefore, disease management and cacao growth on a bigger scale could potentially use the Trichoderma integrated-composted plant residues.

Keywords: Cacao, compost, nutrient, Phytophthora pod rot, Soil amendment, Trichoderma, vascular streak dieback


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