Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 28, Number 4, October-December 2008
Page(s) 567 - 573
Published online 30 August 2008
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 28 (2008) 567-573
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2008036

High efficacy of extracts of Cameroon plants against tomato late blight disease

P. Goufo1, 2, C. Teugwa Mofor1, D.A. Fontem3 and D. Ngnokam4

1  Faculty of Science, University of Yaounde I, PO Box 812 Yaounde, Cameroon
2  College of Agriculture, South China Agricultural University, 510642 Guangzhou, China
3  Faculty of Agriculture, University of Dschang, PO Box 208 Dschang, Cameroon
4  Faculty of Science, University of Dschang, PO Box 67 Dschang, Cameroon

Accepted 12 June 2008; published online 30 August 2008

Abstract - The classical protection of tomato plants against the late blight disease caused by the fungi Phytophthora infestans involves the use of synthetic fungicides. However, such a practice raises two major issues. First, synthetic fungicides are toxic substances that are a threat to the ecosystem. Second, the efficiency of synthetic fungicides is decreasing due to the development of fungicide resistance by the fungi. In addition, there is growing concern from consumers about food contamination due to heavy reliance on toxic and persistent chemicals in plant protection strategies. Therefore, there is a necessity to evaluate the efficacy of alternative compounds. Biologically active products occur in plants for protection against pests, pathogens and other plants. Such compounds could be valuable as biopesticides for controlling plant diseases because they are biodegradable and selective in their activities. In that context, we conducted laboratory and greenhouse experiments to assess the efficacy of nine extracts of native plants of Cameroon in controlling P. infestans. Sporangial germination was determined after 24 h of incubation on 1.5% water agar medium at 18 °C in the dark. Lesion size, and late blight latency and severity were assessed on 7-8-week-old detached leaflets and whole tomato plants incubated in the greenhouse for 7 days. Our results showed that Cupressus benthamii and Vetiveria zizanioides extracts were the most effective preparations, leading to 23% and 35% inhibition of sporangial germination, respectively, and to 86% and 77% disease reduction. A clear relationship between disease latency and disease severity was established. The identification of C. benthamii and V. zizanioides extracts as potential alternate compounds for late blight control is a major step in the process of replacing harmful pesticides. Using these biopesticides in combination with other established disease management practices could help control late blight in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Key words: plant extracts / Phytophthora infestans / late blight / tomato / antifungal activity / disease suppression / biopesticide

Corresponding author:

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008