The promotion of plant growth and suppression of plant disease using beneficial microorganisms is considered an alternative to the application of chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the field. In this study, a coconut-scented antagonistic Trichoderma strain LZ42, previously isolated from Genoderma lucidum-cultivated soil, was investigated for biostimulatory and biocontrol functions in tomato seedlings. Morphological and phylogenetic analyses suggested that strain LZ42 is closely related to T. atroviride. Tomato plants showed increased aerial and root dry weights in greenhouse trials after treatment with T. atroviride LZ42 formulated in talc, indicating the biostimulatory function of this fungus. T. atroviride LZ42 effectively suppressed Fusarium wilt disease in tomato seedlings, with an 82.69% control efficiency, which is similar to that of fungicide treatment. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by T. atroviride LZ42 were found to affect the primary root growth direction and promote the root growth of tomato seedlings in root Y-tube olfactometer assays. The fungal VOCs from T. atroviride LZ42 were observed to significantly inhibit F. oxysporum in a sandwiched Petri dish assay. SPME-GC-MS analysis revealed several VOCs emitted by T. atroviride LZ42; the dominant compound was tentatively identified as 6-pentyl-2H-pyran-2-one (6-PP). 6-PP exhibited a stronger ability to influence the direction of the primary roots of tomato seedlings but not the length of the primary roots. The inhibitory effect of 6-PP on F. oxysporum was the highest among the tested pure VOCs, showing a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 5.76 μL mL-1 headspace. In conclusion, T. atroviride LZ42, which emits VOCs with multiple functions, is a promising agent for the biostimulation of vegetable plants and integrated management of Fusarium wilt disease.
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