Antifungal activity of peppermint and sweet basil essential oils and their major aroma constituents on some plant pathogenic fungi from the vapor phase



The vapors of peppermint oil and two of its major constituents (menthol and menthone( and sweet basil oil and two of its major constituents (linalool and eugenol( were tested against Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.( Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehrenb. exFr.) Vuill and Mucorsp. (Fisher) in a closed system. These fungi cause deterioration and heavy decay of peach fruit during marketing, shipping and storage. The essential oils, their major individual aroma constituents and blends of the major individual constituents at different ratios inhibited the growth of the fungi in a dose-dependent manner. Menthol was found to be the individual aroma constituent responsible for the antifungal properties of peppermint essential oil, while menthone alone did not show any effect at all doses. In the case of basil oil, linalool alone showed a moderate antifungal activity while eugenol showed no activity at all. Mixing the two components in a ratio similar to their concentrations in the original oil was found to enhance the antifungal properties of basil oil indicating a synergistic effect.