In this study, the biological activity of aquatic extracts of selected Greek medicinal and aromatic plants to the phytopathogenic fungus Alternaria alternata was investigated. Lamiaceae species (Hyssopus officinalis L., Melissa officinalis L., Origanum dictamnus L., Origanum vulgare L. and Salvia officinalis L.) were found to enhance significantly the mycelium growth whereas Crocus sativus appears to inhibit it slightly. M. officinalis and S. officinalis caused the highest stimulation in mycelium growth (+97%) and conidia production (+65%) respectively. In order to further investigate the bioactivity of plant extracts to A. alternata, we employed Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Differences of original spectra were assigned mainly to amides of proteins. The second derivative transformation of spectra revealed changes in spectral regions corresponding to absorptions of the major cellular constituents such as cell membrane and proteins. Principal component analysis of the second derivative transformed spectra confirmed that fatty acids of the cell membranes, amides of proteins and polysaccharides of the cell wall had the major contribution to data variation. FTIR band area ratios were found to correlate with fungal mycelium growth.
Keywords: Alternaria alternata; FTIR; Growth enhancement; Medicinal and aromatic plants.
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