After almost four years of research, a group of scientists from the Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant Physiology of the University of La Laguna (ULL) has obtained the patent of several extracts derived from two endophytic fungi of Artemisia spp., with which new biocidal products may be developed for the control of diseases affecting crops.
The development of such an antifungal is a great step in the fight against Alternaria, a pathogenic fungus that has become a threat to most plants and crops, which causes dark spots, rot, discoloration and even the death of infected plants. The new solution is a natural alternative to chemically-synthesized products traditionally used to fight pests like this.
Researcher Raimundo Manuel Cabrera Pérez, who is the head of the study, said that the formula isn't exclusively for Canary crops, since it can be formulated in several ways and could be marketed anywhere in the world. The fungus can be incorporated into the plant's substrate and, as it grows, it provides protection and, if attacked, the damage is much more limited.
"What we found is that when tomato plants are inoculated with this fungus, and we then infect them with the pathogen, those that are inoculated with the endophyte become resistant and do not develop the disease," said Cabrera.
The patent has been developed based on a study of plants from Romania and the Canary Islands, carried out for a doctoral thesis during which about 400 strains of fungi corresponding to 120 different species were isolated.
Source: Efe / lavanguardia.com