Phycobiliproteins (PBPs) are proteins of cyanobacteria and some algae such as rhodophytes. They have antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory activity at the human level, but there is a lack of knowledge on their antifungal activity against plant pathogens. We studied the activity of PBPs extracted from Arthrospiraplatensis and Hydropuntiacornea against Botrytiscinerea, one of the most important worldwide plant-pathogenic fungi. PBPs were characterized by using FT-IR and FT-Raman in order to investigate their structures. Their spectra differed in the relative composition in the amide bands, which were particularly strong in A. platensis. PBP activity was tested on tomato fruits against gray mold disease, fungal growth, and spore germination at different concentrations (0.3, 0.6, 1.2, 2.4, and 4.8 mg/mL). Both PBPs reduced fruit gray mold disease. A linear dose-response relationship was observed for both PBPs against disease incidence and H. cornea against disease severity. Pathogen mycelial growth and spore germination were reduced significantly by both PBPs. In conclusion, PBPs have the potential for being also considered as natural compounds for the control of fungal plant pathogens in sustainable agriculture.
Keywords: Botrytis cinerea; FT-IR; FT-Raman; cyanobacteria; fungicidal activity; gray mold; phycobiliproteins; plant disease control; plant pathogen; red algae; rhodophyta.