A thermostable chitin-binding protein (14.3 kDa) with antifungal activity was isolated from Moringa oleifera seeds by affinity chromatography on chitin followed by ion exchange chromatography. NH(2-) CPAIQRCCQQLRNIQPPCRCCQ (Mo-CBP3) is a glycoprotein with 2.5% sugar, pI 10.8, without hemagglutination, chitinase or beta-glucanase activities. Mo-CBP3 possesses in vitro antifungal activity against the phytopathogenicfungi Fusarium solani, F. oxysporum, Colletotrichum musae and C. gloesporioides. Contrarily, Mo-CBP3 did not affect Pythium oligandrum, an oomycete. At 0.05 mg/ml, Mo-CBP3 showed to be fungistatic against F. solani, but at 0.1 mg/ml Mo-CBP3 behaved as a potent fungicidal agent as it inhibited both the spore germination and mycelial growth of F. solani. Surprisingly, the effect of Mo-CBP3 against spore germination was observed even when the protein was heated at 100 degrees C for 1 h or pretreated with 0.15M N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Mo-CBP3 inhibited the glucose-stimulated acidification of the incubation medium by F. solani. This is apparently caused by structural plasma membrane disarrangement induced by Mo-CBP3. Altogether, these results suggest that Mo-CBP3 might be involved in plant defense mechanisms and could be used as potential antifungal agent for controlling fungal pathogens in plants.