Antifungal activity of four weedy plant extracts against selected mycotoxigenic fungi
Aims: To investigate the antifungal activity of aqueous and organic extracts of four weedy plant species viz. Tagetes minuta, Lippia javanica, Amaranthus spinosus and Vigna unguiculata against isolates of four agriculturally important fungi, i.e. Fusarium verticillioides, F. proliferatum, Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Methods and Results: Dried powdered aerial parts of the plants were extracted sequentially with hexane, dichloromethane, methanol and water and tested for activity using a serial microdilution assay. Results were read every day over 120 h. All extracts except for the water extracts showed growth inhibitory activity against most isolates of the Fusarium spp. The most active were the methanol and hexane extracts of V. unguiculata and A. spinosus with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of <0·5 mg ml-1 after 48 h against Fusarium spp. No inhibition of the Aspergillus spp. tested was observed, but conidium formation was stimulated on plates treated with plant extracts when visually compared to the growth controls. Conclusions: The results obtained from this study indicated that chemical constituents from these plant species may be developed as potential agrochemical fungicides. Significance and Impact of the Research: Food and feed are subject to infection by a variety of micro-organisms that can induce spoilage andor produce metabolites that are toxic to humans and animals. Extracts of V. unguiculata and A. spinosus were most active and maybe developed into environmentally friendly fungicides, which are affordable to rural farmers in developing countries. © 2010 The Society for Applied Microbiology.