Description: Natural products derived from microbes are crucial innovations that would help in reaching sustainability development goals worldwide while achieving bioeconomic growth. Trichoderma species are well-studied model fungal organisms used for their biocontrol properties with great potential to alleviate the use of agrochemicals in agriculture. However, identifying and characterizing effective natural products in novel species or strains as biological control products remains a meticulous process with many known challenges to be navigated. Integration of recent advancements in various “omics” technologies, next generation biodesign, machine learning, and artificial intelligence approaches could greatly advance bioprospecting goals. Herein, we propose a roadmap for assessing the potential impact of already known or newly discovered Trichoderma species for biocontrol applications. By screening publicly available Trichoderma genome sequences, we first highlight the prevalence of putative biosynthetic gene clusters and antimicrobial peptides among genomes as an initial step toward predicting which organisms could increase the diversity of natural products. Next, we discuss high-throughput methods for screening organisms to discover and characterize natural products and how these findings impact both fundamental and applied research fields.
Corresponding Member: Jesse Labbe