Fungitoxic properties of selected South African plant species against plant pathogens of economic importance in agriculture


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Thirty-nine plant species, representing 20 families from the subclasses Rosidae, Asteridae, Commelinidae and Liliidae, were collected from the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Crude extracts were prepared and bioassayed, at equal concentrations, for their antifungal potential by determining the inhibitory effects on the mycelial growth of seven economically important plant pathogenic fungi. Statistically significant differences between plants and plant parts were observed as well as the resistance of different fungi to treatment with different plant extracts. The most significant mycelial growth inhibition was obtained with extracts from two species of the subclass Liliidae, namely Aristea ecklonii and Agapanthus inapertus. The crude extract of A. ecklonii performed best of all extracts as it totally inhibited the mycelial growth of all seven of the plant pathogenic test organisms and outperformed the inhibition by a broad spectrum synthetic fungicide (carbendazim/difenoconazole). Crude extracts of A. inapertus showed complete inhibition of four and strong inhibition of the remaining three plant pathogenic fungi. Although not as efficient as the previous two species, the extract of Anisopappus junodii, from the subclass Asteridae, also showed promising antifungal activity by completely inhibiting mycelial radial growth of two and strongly inhibiting that of the remaining five fungi.