Natural products enhance disease control
Can natural products combined with fungicides improve control of diseases, such as blue mold? Photo courtesty of Chang-Lin Xiao, WSU.
Photo courtesty of Chang-Lin Xiao, WSU
Dr. Bruce Campbell with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant mycotoxin research unit in Albany, California, has found that in lab experiments certain natural phenolic compounds can improve the control of fruit pathogens when combined with commercial fungicides by making the fungus more sensitive to the fungicide. In a commercial situation this could help make fungicides more effective and reduce the necessary dose. He believes these products have the potential also to slow resistance to fungicides.
For example, he found that the addition of the phenolic compounds 2,3-dihydroxybenzaldehyde, octylgallate, or thymol improved the efficacy of strobilurin against Penicillium expansum (blue mold) and other fungal pathogens.
However, in real-life tests that plant pathologist Dr. Chang-Lin Xiao conducted at Washington State University using infected fruit, the products were not effective. Campbell said further experiments need to be conducted with fruit to find out why the results differed from those of his petri dish experiments. His research was funded by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.