Comparative chemical analysis and antifungal activity of Ochtodes secundiramea (Rhodophyta) extracts obtained using different biomass processing methods
BACKGROUND Banana and papaya are among the most important crops in the tropics, with a value amounting to millions of dollars per year. However, these fruits suffer significant losses due to anthracnose, a fungal disease. It is well known that certain seaweed extracts possess antifungal activity, but no published data appear to exist on the practical application of this property. In the present study, five organic Brazilian seaweed extracts were screened for their activity against banana and papaya anthracnose fungi. Furthermore, cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of the extracts were evaluated by the brine shrimp lethality assay and the Allium cepa root-tip mutagenicity test respectively, while their major components were identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. RESULTS Strong fungus-inhibitory effects of Ochtodes secundiramea and Laurencia dendroidea extracts were observed on both papaya (100 and 98% respectively) and banana (89 and 78% respectively). This impressive activity could be associated with halogenated terpenes, the major components of both extracts. Only Hypnea musciformis extract showed cytotoxic and mutagenic effects. CONCLUSION The results of this study suggest the potential use of seaweed extracts as a source of antifungal agents with low toxicity to control anthracnose in papaya and banana during storage.