Fossil mycoparasite like
extant Trichoderma (2)
The peculiar combination of
traits of the fungus
which is able to live as a symbiont in plants and to destroy
harmful fungi, has made its several species well-known means of crop
protection. Continuing research involving molecular genetics, with the
aim to further
improve the performance of its several commercially grown species
and strains, has yielded, in addition to results of
agricultural importance, the minor but interesting scientific result that
the useful combination of traits must have
evolved far back in time .
Apparently no fossil evidence of a plant symbiont attacking
a harmful fungus has been found hitherto. Hence it is important, less
commercially than scientifically, that wavy hyphae (Fig.1
and Part 1) strongly resembling extant Trichoderma
 with respect to both waviness and contact to other hyphae are
seen in the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert.
Fig.1: Wavy or spiralling fungus hyphae grown along "normal" ones,
thus resembling extant Trichoderma.
& Width of the image 4.4mm, same scale as images in Part 1.
Fig.3 (above): Hypha curling around
and probably contacting a straight hypha, detail of Fig.2.
(left): Hyphae of different aspect grown in a water-filled cavity,
preserved in silica gel turned into chalzedony, topped with quartz;
thick microbial stratum below.
The large loops probably contacting a straight hypha
suggest a simlar parasitic relation as with the tight irregular turns
in Fig.1. So it might be the same fungus or a closely related species.
There are combinations of straight and wavy hyphae which possibly indicate
that this fungus is rather variable with respect to its way of life.
(See  and Part 1, Fig.6.).
hoped that more observations on uncommon fossil hyphae eventually will
contribute to better
understanding the kind of mycoparasitism known from the peculiar fungus
 C.P. Kubicek:
Comparative genome sequence analysis underscores mycoparasitism as the
ancestral life style of Trichoderma.
Genome Biol. 2011; 12(4): R40.
 Google: jgi mycocosm Trichoderma virens
 www.chertnews.de, Rhynie Chert News 78.