Biocontrol of early blight disease of eggplant using endophytic Aspergillus terreus: improving plant immunological, physiological and antifungal activities

Bot Stud. 2022 Aug 28;63(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s40529-022-00357-6.


BACKGROUND: The eggplant suffers from many biotic stresses that cause severe damage to crop production. One of the most destructive eggplant pathogens is Alternaria solani, which causes early blight disease. A pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the role of fungal endophytes in protecting eggplant against early blight as well as in improving its growth performance.

RESULTS: Endophytic Aspergillus terreus was isolated from Ocimum basilicum leaves and identified morphologically and genetically. In vitro, crude extract of endophytic A. terreus exhibited promising antifungal activity against A. solani where minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was 1.25 mg/ml. Severity of the disease and rate of protection from the disease were recorded. Vegetative growth indices, physiological resistance signs (photosynthetic pigments, carbohydrates, proteins, phenols, proline, malondialdehyde (MDA), antioxidant enzymes), and isozymes were estimated. Alternaria solani caused a highly disease severity (87.5%) and a noticeable decreasing in growth characteristics and photosynthetic pigments except for carotenoids. Also, infection with A. solani caused significant decreases in the contents of carbohydrate and protein by 29.94% and 10.52%, respectively. Infection with A. solani caused enhancement in phenolics (77.21%), free proline (30.56%), malondialdehyde (30.26%), superoxide dismutase (SOD) (125.47%), catalase (CAT) (125.93%), peroxidase (POD) (25.07%) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) (125.37%) compared to healthy plants. In contrast, the use of A. terreus on infected plants succeeded in recovering eggplants from the disease, as the disease severity was recorded (caused protection by 66.67%). Application of A. terreus either on healthy or infected eggplants showed several responses in number and density of peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) isozymes.

CONCLUSION: It is necessary for us to address the remarkable improvement in the photosynthetic pigments, protein, carbohydrates, and enzymatic activity compared to infected control, which opens the way for more studies on the use of biocides as safe alternatives against fungal diseases.

PMID:36030517 | DOI:10.1186/s40529-022-00357-6

Source: Industry