The mycelial growth of Aspergillus nigervan Tieghem was completely inhibited using 1.5 (l/ml or 2.0 (l/ml of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil applied by fumigation or contact method in Czapek liquid medium, respectively. This oil was found also to be fungicidal at the same concentrations. The sublethal doses 1.0 and 1.5 (l/ml inhibited about 70% of fungal growth after five days of incubation and delayed conidiation as compared with the control. Microscopic observations using Light Microscope (LM), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) were carried out to determine the ultra structural modifications of A. niger hyphae after treatment with C. citratus essential oil. The hyphal diameter and hyphal wall appeared markedly thinner. This oil also caused plasma membrane disruption and mitochondrial structure disorganization. Moreover, Ca+2, K+ and Mg+2 leakages increased from the fumigated mycelium and its total lipid content decreased, while the saturated fatty acids decreased and unsaturated fatty acids increased. These findings increase the possibility of exploiting C. citratus essential oil as an effective inhibitor of biodegrading and storage contaminating fungi and in fruit juice preservation. (© 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
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