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Fungitoxic Activity of 12 Essential Oils against Four Postharvest Citrus Pathogens: Chemical Analysis of Thymus capitatus Oil and its Effect in Subatmospheric Pressure Conditions

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The fungitoxic activity against Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium italicum, Botrytis cinerea, and Alternaria citri of 12 essential oils (EOs) distilled from medicinal plants is reported. The results of the in vitro trials show strong fungitoxic activity of Thymus capitatus (L.) Hofmgg EOs, which inhibited the growth of the four fungi at a concentration of 250 ppm (vol/vol). The other 11 essences reduced the development of the fungi from 95 to 9% at 250 ppm (vol/vol). The fungitoxic activity of T. capitatus EOs (75, 150, and 250 ppm) on healthy orange fruits, inoculated with P. digitatum (108 conidia ml-1) by spraying and placed in 10-liter desiccators, was weak at atmospheric pressure (3 to 10% inhibition at all three concentrations), while in vacuum conditions (0.5 bar), conidial mortality on the exocarp was high (90 to 97% at all three concentrations). These data proved not to be statistically different from treatments with thiabendazole-TBZ (2,000 ppm). Scanning electron microscope observations showed that T. capitatus EO vapors altered the morphology of P. digitatum hyphae and conidia. The gaschromatographic analyses of thyme EO indicated that carvacrol was present at 81 to 83%, p -cymene at 4.5 to 5%, γ-terpinene at 2.6 to 3.3%, caryophyllene at 1.5 to 1.6%, β-myrcene at 1.6%, and linalool at 1.1 to 1.2%. Carvacrol proved to be the most important fungitoxic compound among the thyme EO constituents, but, unlike thyme EO, it caused alterations to the fruit at the concentration of 75 ppm.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CNR—Istituto per la Fisiologia della Maturazione e della Conservazione del Frutto delle Specie Arboree Mediterranee, Via dei Mille, 48-07100 Sassari, Italy 2: Dipartimento di Scienze del Farmaco, Via Muroni, 23A-07100 Sassari, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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