Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

Control of Fusarium fungi and mycotoxins in wheat with rhubarb, alder buckthorn and tannins

During the past few years, the importance of Fusarium fungi and their toxins in wheat has increased significantly. This study demonstrated that fusaria can be controlled organically with medicinal plants: Suspensions of Galla chinensis and tannic acid inhibited spore germination and mycelial growth of Fusarium graminearum in vitro by 75 to 100 %. In climate chamber experiments with artificially infected «Apogee» wheat, treatments with tannic acid, G. chinensis (Chinese galls) and Rheum palmatum (Chinese rhubarb) reduced the deoxynivalenol (DON) content in grains by 67 to 81 %. Although the bark of alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) showed no effect either in vitro or in the climate chamber, it reduced the DON content of two winter-wheat varieties by 60 % under field conditions. The good efficacy of tannic acid and G. chinensis can be explained by fungal toxicity, whereas that of F. alnus can be explained by resistance induction. This is the first time, that plant compounds proved to be a true alternative to synthetic fungicides for controlling Fusarium fungi in wheat.

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