Antifungal activity of medicinal plant extracts against phytopathogenic fungus Alternaria spp.

Paola Díaz Dellavalle1, Andrea Cabrera1, Diego Alem1, Patricia Larrañaga1, Fernando Ferreira2, and Marco Dalla Rizza1*

The aim of the study was to evaluate the antifungal activity of extracts of 10 plant species used in traditional Uruguayan medicine against the phytopathogenic fungus Alternaria spp. The plants were selected on the basis of their reported ethnobotanical uses. Aqueous, saline buffer and acid extracts of different plant species were screened in vitro for their antifungal activity against Alternaria spp. For the antifungal evaluation we used a microspectrophotometric assay. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) of the extracts were determined. Three solvents were assayed on different tissues of the plants and among the 29 evaluated extracts, 31% of the extracts inhibited growth, similar to the effects of a chemical fungicide. Acid extracts of the plants were more effective than the aqueous or buffer extracts against Alternaria spp. The MIC values of the extracts were determined ranging between 1.25 and 25 µg mL-1. The MFC values of the extracts ranged between 1.25 µg mL-1 (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and 10 µg mL-1 (Cynara scolymus L.). MICs and MFCs values obtained from leaves (Salvia officinalis L. and R. officinalis) and seeds extracts (Salvia sclarea L.) were quite comparable to values obtained with the conventional fungicide captan (2.5 µg mL-1). The extracts of Salvia sclarea, S. officinalis and R. officinalis could be considered as potential sources of antifungal compounds for treating diseases in plants. These extracts showed maximum activity, even at very low concentrations, and the same fungicide effects as chemical fungicide. We conclude from this that these extracts exhibit amazing fungicidal properties that support their traditional use as antiseptics.

Keywords: Fungicidal properties, ethnobotanical uses, Uruguay.
1Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA Las Brujas), Ruta 48 km 10, Canelones, Uruguay. *Corresponding author (mdallarizza@inia.org.uy).
2Universidad de la República, Facultad de Química, Av. General Flores 2124, Montevideo, Uruguay.