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Using Citrus aurantifolia essential oil for the potential biocontrol of Colocasia esculenta (taro) leaf blight caused by Phytophthora colocasiae


The aim of this work was to evaluate the antimicrobial activities of leaves and epicarp of Citrus aurantifolia essential oil against Phytophthora colocasiae, the causative agent of taro leaf blight. Oils were extracted by hydrodistillation, and their chemical composition was determined by gas chromatography and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Antimicrobial activities of oils were tested in vitro against mycelium growth and sporangium production. In situ tests were done on healthy taro leaves, and the necrosis symptoms were evaluated. Results showed that the essential oil extraction yields from leaves and epicarp were 0.61 and 0.36%, respectively. Limonene (48.96%), bornyl acetate (14.18%), geraniol (10.53%), geranial (3.93%), and myrcene (3.14%) were the main components in leaf oil, while limonene (59.09%), cis-hydrate sabinene (7.53%), geranial (5.61%), myrtenol (5.02%), and terpinen-4-ol (3.48%) were the main components in epicarp oil. Both oils exhibited antimicrobial activities with total inhibition of the mycelium growth at 500 and 900 ppm for leaf and epicarp, respectively. The highest inhibitory concentration of sporangium production was 400 (72.84%) and 800 ppm (80.65%) for leaf and epicarp oil, respectively. For the standard fungicide (metalaxyl), the total inhibition value of mycelial growth and sporangium production was 750 ppm. In situ tests showed that, at 5000 ppm, total inhibition (100%) was obtained for a preventive test, while 50% of the inhibition was observed for a curative test when leaf oil was applied. When epicarp essential oil was applied at 5000 ppm, 47.5 and 16.66% of the reduction of leaf necrosis were observed for the preventive and curative test, respectively. There were positive correlations between both the oil concentration and the reduction of necrosis caused by P. colocasiae. These findings suggest that the C. aurantifolia essential oil could serve as an eco-friendly biocontrol for the management of taro leaf blight.