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Screening of antifungal properties of essential oils extracted from sweet basil, fennel, summer savory and thyme against postharvest phytopathogenic fungi

Abdollahi, Ali, Hassani, Abbas, Ghosta, Youbert, Meshkatalsadat, Mohamad Hadi, Shabani, Razieh
Journal of food safety 2011 v.31 no.3 pp. 350-356
Foeniculum vulgare, Ocimum basilicum, Penicillium digitatum, Rhizopus stolonifer, Satureja hortensis, Thymus vulgaris, alternative crops, antifungal agents, antifungal properties, carvacrol, crop quality, essential oils, fennel, foodborne illness, fruits, fungicides, gas chromatography, human health, mass spectrometry, oils, plant pathogenic fungi, screening, storage quality, thyme, vapors
The antifungal activity of essential oils of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) against two well-known postharvest fungi, Penicillium digitatum and Rhizopus stolonifer, by poison food medium (0, 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1,000 µL/L) and vapor phase (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 40 µL) methods were assayed. The results showed that in poison food medium thyme oil had greatest antifungal activity against P. digitatum and R. stolonifer at 1,000 and ≥600 µL/L, respectively. In vapor phase, thyme oil at ≥5 µL completely inhibited the mycelial growth of pathogens. Summer savory oil at ≥600 µL/L had a significant inhibitory effect on mycelial growth of R. stolonifer. Fennel oil showed the lowest antifungal activity against the pathogens. All the essential oil treatments completely inhibited the growth of R. stolonifer in vapor phase method. Also R. stolonifer were more sensitive against the essential oils. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that main compounds identified in sweet basil, fennel, summer savory and thyme oils were linalool (65.25%), trans-anethole (64.42%), carvacrol (54.14%) and β-ocimene (12.62%), respectively. Therefore, thyme and summer savory oils have a promising potential to use antifungal agent against fruit and vegetable fungi. The results of this work show that thyme, summer savory and fennel oils have a high potential to be used as an antifungal agents for control of postharvest phytopatogenic fungi especially in vapor phase method. Therefore, essential oils as safe aromatic compounds that do have not negative effects on human health and environment may be used as a novel and practical tool for preservation of postharvest quality of horticultural crops and are suitable alternative for synthetic fungicides.