Letters in applied microbiology

Growth inhibition and antioxidative response of wood decay fungi exposed to plant extracts of Casearia species.

PMID 24102260


Ligninolytic fungi take part in critical processes in ecosystems such as nutrient recycling; however, some fungal species can be pathogenic to forest and urban trees and deteriorate wood products. The tropical flora is an important source of antimicrobial compounds environmentally safer than traditional wood preservatives. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the inhibitory activity of ethanol plant extracts of Casearia sylvestris and Casearia decandra on the white-rot wood decay basidiomycetes Trametes villosa and Pycnoporus sanguineus. In addition, the effect of the extracts on the fungal antioxidative metabolism was studied. Among the different substances present in the extracts, the phytochemical analyses identified a clerodane diterpenoid (C. sylvestris) and cinnamic acid, hydroquinone and β-sitosterol (C. decandra). The extracts inhibited the fungi up to 70% and caused hyphal morphology changes. The extracts triggered oxidative stress process as indicated by the increased levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione reductase. Therefore, the Casearia extracts are a potential source of natural biocides to control wood decay fungi, and one of the mechanisms of action is the oxidative stress. The Casearia plant extracts exhibited important antifungal activity on wood decay fungi and triggered oxidative stress process, an inhibitory mechanism rarely studied in filamentous fungi exposed to plant extracts. Therefore, a starting point was provided for the development of natural compounds-based products as an alternative to chemical fungicides. In addition, subsidies were given to further studies in order to elucidate in more detail how compounds present in extracts of native tropical plants affect the physiology of fungi.