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Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Oct 31;135(2):165-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

Efficacy of Lippia alba (Mill.) N.E. Brown essential oil and its monoterpene aldehyde constituents against fungi isolated from some edible legume seeds and aflatoxin B1 production.

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Laboratory of Herbal Pesticides, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India.


The present study deals with evaluation of antifungal properties of Lippia alba essential oil (EO) and two of its monoterpene aldehyde constituents against legume-contaminating fungi. Seventeen different fungal species were isolated from 11 varieties of legumes, and aflatoxigenic isolates of Aspergillus flavus were identified. Hydrodistillation method was used to extract the EO from fresh leaves. The GC and GC-MS analysis of EO revealed the monoterpene aldehydes viz. geranial (22.2%) and neral (14.2%) as the major components. The antifungal activity of EO, geranial and neral was evaluated by contact assay on Czapek's-dox agar. The EO (0.25-1 microL/mL) and its two constituents (1 microL/mL) showed remarkable antifungal effects against all the fungal isolates (growth inhibition range 32.1-100%). Their minimal inhibitory (MIC) and fungicidal (MFC) concentrations for A. flavus were lower than those of the systemic fungicide Bavistin. Aflatoxin B(1) (AFB(1)) production by three isolates of A. flavus was strongly inhibited even at the lower fungistatic concentration of EO and its constituents. There was no adverse effect of treatments on seed germination, and rather, there was enhanced seedling growth in the EO-treated seeds. It is concluded that L. alba EO and two of its constituents could be safely used as effective preservative for food legumes against fungal infections and mycotoxins.

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