Apples sprayed with plant extracts

Journal of Integrative Agriculture - Gholamnezhad, J.

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

This paper shows plant extracts can be used to control postharvest disease as a safe alternative option to other, more harmful chemical fungicides.

Effect of plant extracts on activity of some defense enzymes of apple fruit in interaction with Botrytis cinerea.

What is the problem?

Botrytis, or Gray Mold is a pathogenic fungus (necrotrophic) that affects more than 220 plant species, usually during their latest stage of flowering. This pathogen prefers cooler temperatures and high humidity which can make the storage of many crops particularly problematic. The author investigated natural plant extracts to increase the resistance of apples in cold storage to the infection of fungal pathogen, Botrytis cinerea.

What did the research involve?

  • Plant extracts of several different plant parts from multiple species were obtained from Iran (neem seeds, fennel leaves, lavender leaves and flowers, celak thyme leaves, pennyroyal leaves, salvia leaves and flowers, asafetida leaves).
  • Apple plants (golden delicious) were sprayed with various concentraitons of plant extracts before being innoculated with Botrytis cinerea.
  • Treated apples were stored at 4˚C for 30 days.
  • Tissues were assessed for fungle spore infection.

What were the key findings?

  • Application of neem extract reduced fungal spore infection by 55-65% compared to the untreated control.
  • The application of aqueous extract of neem (at concentration of 25%) resulted in 89.11% reduction of disease severity compared with the untreated control.
  • Out of the seven plant extracts that were tested (neem, fennel, lavender, thyme, pennyroyal, salvia and asafetida), neem extract was the most effective in controlling postharvest infection.

Final comment

Gholamnezhad (2019) showed that the plant extracts induced the apple plant’s own resistant mechanisms which could be useful in controlling apple Botrytis cinerea infection. Results obtained during the experiment and reports of success of plant extracts indicated that the tested plant extracts hold promise for the organic and eco-friendly management of postharvest pathogen of apple.


This paper was summarised by Luke Stafford (Bachelor of Biological Sciences with Honours – Botany and Genetics Majors (La Trobe University) and reviewed by Nickala Best (PhD Student (La Trobe University). Learn more about Luke and Nickala here.

2019 - Iran - Journal of Integrative Agriculture - Gholamnezhad, J.
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