Main content area

Exploration of essential oils as alternatives to conventional fungicides in lupin cultivation

Dewitte, Kevin, Landschoot, Sofie, Carrette, Jasper, Audenaert, Kris, Haesaert, Geert
Organic agriculture 2019 v.9 no.1 pp. 107-116
Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum, Lupinus, Pleiochaeta setosa, anthracnose, antifungal agents, conidia, essential oils, fungi, fungicides, gray mold, in vitro studies, mycelium, organic production, plant extracts, protein sources, root rot, soybeans, spore germination, tea tree oil, temperate zones, thyme
Lupin (Lupinus L.) has the potential to become a true alternative for soybean as protein source, especially in the more temperate regions in the world. However, diseases such as anthracnose (Colletotrichum lupini), gray mold (Botrytis cinerea), and root rot or brown spot (Pleiochaeta setosa) are important threats for lupin production, leading to yield and quality losses. Although conventional fungicides offer a solution to these problems, there is a growing interest in the use of alternative (biological) treatments. In this research, the applicability of four pure plant essential oils (clove oil, juniper oil, tea tree oil, and thyme essential oil) and timbor® (a Thymus vulgaris-derived plant extract) as alternatives for synthetic fungicides towards the lupin pathogens—C. lupini, B. cinerea, and P. setosa—was investigated. The anti-fungal effect of juniper oil was limited, whereas the other oils and timbor® clearly suppressed the growth and spore germination of all fungi. The in vitro experiments revealed that thyme essential oil and timbor® were most effective to inhibit conidial germination and mycelium growth. Furthermore, the results of the pot experiments demonstrated that these Thymus-derived compounds were able to suppress P. setosa brown spot and root rot symptoms. Additional trials are necessary to evaluate the effect of these compounds under field conditions. However, based on these in vitro and pot experiments, it can be concluded that pure essential oils and Thymus-derived plant extracts are promising anti-fungal agents, having the potential to become true alternatives for conventional fungicides in lupin cultivation. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the potential of plant-derived compounds to treat the main diseases affecting lupin production.