Verifying the potential of essential oils in treating crop diseases

Brazilian researchers examined 17 essential oils for their potential ability to inhibit the growth of the pathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. They identified 11 candidates that might be able to protect valuable food crops from the devastating fungal disease white mold.

The research was supported by the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR). The findings were published in the Australian Journal Of Basic And Applied Sciences.

  • Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is responsible for white mold. The disease targets important food crops like beans, potatoes, soybeans, and tomatoes.
  • Seventeen essential oils were tested for their anti-fungal activity on the fungus that causes white mold. Their fungicidal effect was evaluated by inducing myceliogenic and carpogenic germination in treated fungal sclerotia.
  • Mugworth (Artemisia vulgaris), lemon-scented gum (Eucalyptus Citriodora), true cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), Persian lime (Citrus latifolia), lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), jointed flatsedge (Cyperus articulatus), pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), broadleaved pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and ginger (Zingiber officinale) were the best at controlling germination of Sclerotinia.
  • Furthermore, all 17 essential oils effectively inhibited the formation and germination of fungal reproductive structures that bore spores.
  • The major components of the oils aggressively attacked the structure of the fungus. They broke the homeostatic balance of the funga cells, causing regression and cell death.

The researchers believe the tested essential oils could serve as natural means of protecting plant crops against white mold by inhibiting the growth and spread of S. sclerotium.

The complete study can be browsed at this site.

If you wish to find out how lemon grass and other essential oils can fight off other fungal diseases, visit

Journal reference

de Campos Siega T, Bernardi C, dos Santos Rey M, Busso C, Mazaro SM. EFFECT OF ESSENTIAL OILS ON MICELIOGENIC AND CARPOGENIC GERMINATION OF SCLEROTINIASCLEROTIORUM (LIB.) DE BARY. Australian Journal Of Basic And Applied Sciences. 5 February 2018;12(1):32–36. DOI: 10.22587/ajbas.2018.12.1.7.

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