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Activity of foliar extracts of cultivated eggplants against sclerotinia lettuce drop disease and their phytochemical profiles

Pane, Catello, Francese, Gianluca, Raimo, Francesco, Mennella, Giuseppe, Zaccardelli, Massimo
European journal of plant pathology 2017 v.148 no.3 pp. 687-697
Sclerotinia minor, Solanum aethiopicum, Solanum melongena, antifungal properties, chlorogenic acid, crop production, disease control, dose response, eggplants, fungi, growth retardation, hyphae, isoquercitrin, landraces, leaves, lettuce, light microscopy, liquid chromatography, management systems, mass spectrometry, phytopharmaceuticals, plant diseases and disorders, secondary metabolites
Antifungal activity of plant-derived compounds can be exploited in disease management systems to improve sustainability and replace synthetic molecules. In this study, four crude hydroethanolic extracts of leaves, collected from Italian Solanum spp. landraces, were selected to evaluate their ability to suppress Sclerotinia minor Jagger, a great threat to lettuce production worldwide. In vitro fungal development was inhibited by Solanum melongena L. and S. aethiopicum L. extracts showing a dose-dependent correlation. At the highest concentration tested in the current experiments (45 mg mL⁻¹) antifungal activity caused up to 90% growth reduction. The exposure of the fungus to S. aethiopicum extracts incited pronounced changes in the hyphal morphology as observed under light microscopy. Consistently, under laboratory conditions, in planta application of the active extracts on lettuce significantly reduced Sclerotinia drop disease in comparison to non-treated controls. Phytochemical composition was determined by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) analyses. Four secondary metabolites differentially present in the extracts, identified as n-caffeoylputrescine, chlorogenic acid, isoquercitrin and solasodoside A, are hypothesized to play a crucial role in mechanisms underlying biological effects of extracts. PCA analysis showed positive correlations of these compounds with the overall control ability of the extracts. The results indicated that foliar material from cultivated eggplant could be suitable to produce biological-based remedies for controlling plant diseases.