Essential Oils Protect Crops Against Fungal-Rot

Essential oils tested against fruit-rot fungusThe antifungal activity of plant essential oils was evaluated as a postharvest treatment on stone fruit against brown rot and grey mold rot of stone fruit caused by Monilinia laxa and Botrytis cinerea, respectively.

The essential oils from basil (Ocimum basilicum), fennel (Foeniculum sativum), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), marjoram (Origanum majorana), oregano (Origanum vulgare), peppermint (Mentha piperita), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salvia officinalis), savory (Satureja montana), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and wild mint (Mentha arvensis) were tested at two different concentrations on apricots (cv. Kyoto and cv. Tonda di Costigliole), nectarines (cv. Big Top and cv. Nectaross) and plums (cv. Italia and cv. TC Sun). The volatile composition of the essential oils tested was determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis.

The treatments containing essential oils from oregano, savory, and thyme at 1% (vol/vol) controlled both B. cinerea and M. laxa growing on apricots cv. Tonda di Costigliole and plums cv. Italia and cv. TC Sun; however, the same treatments were phytotoxic for the carposphere of nectarines cv. Big Top and cv. Nectaross. Treatments with 10% (vol/vol) essential oils were highly phytotoxic, notwithstanding their efficacy against the pathogens tested.

The essential oils containing as major components α-pinene, p-cymene, carvacrol, and thymol showed similar results on stone fruit, so their antimicrobial activity and the phytotoxicity produced could be based on the concentration of their principal compounds and their synergistic activity.

The efficacy of the essential oil treatments on control of fungal pathogens in postharvest depended on the fruit cultivar, the composition and concentration of the essential oil applied, and the length of storage.

Article source: ‘Efficacy of plant essential oils on postharvest control of rots caused by fungi on different stone fruits in vivo’

J Food Prot. Copyright © 2013 Apr;76(4):631-9. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-342. Lopez-Reyes JG, Spadaro D, Prelle A, Garibaldi A, Gullino ML. AGROINNOVA-Centre of Competence for the Innovation in the Agro-Environmental Sector, Italy.