In vitro and in vivo antifungal activities of the essential oils of various plants against tomato grey mould disease agent Botrytis cinerea.Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Oct 15; 143(3):183-9.IJ
The aim of this study was to find an alternative to synthetic fungicides currently used in the control of devastating fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea, the causal agent of grey mould disease of tomato. Antifungal activities of essential oils obtained from aerial parts of aromatic plants, which belong to the Lamiacea family such as origanum (Origanum syriacum L. var. bevanii), lavender (Lavandula stoechas L. var. stoechas) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), were investigated against B. cinerea. Contact and volatile phase effects of different concentrations of the essential oils were found to inhibit the growth of B. cinerea in a dose-dependent manner. Volatile phase effects of essential oils were consistently found to be more effective on fungal growth than contact phase effect. A volatile vapour of origanum oil at 0.2 μg/ml air was found to completely inhibit the growth of B. cinerea. Complete growth inhibition of pathogen by essential oil of lavender and rosemary was, however, observed at 1.6 μg/ml air concentrations. For the determination of the contact phase effects of the tested essential oils, origanum oil at 12.8 μg/ml was found to inhibit the growth of B. cinerea completely. Essential oils of rosemary and lavender were inhibitory at relatively higher concentrations (25.6 μg/ml). Spore germination and germ tube elongation were also inhibited by the essential oils tested. Light and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) observations revealed that the essential oils cause considerable morphological degenerations of the fungal hyphae such as cytoplasmic coagulation, vacuolations, hyphal shrivelling and protoplast leakage and loss of conidiation. In vivo assays with the origanum essential oil, being the most efficient essential oil, under greenhouse conditions using susceptible tomato plants resulted in good protection against grey mould severity especially as a curative treatment. This study has demonstrated that the essential oils are potential and promising antifungal agents which could be used as biofungicide in the protection of tomato against B. cinerea.