Antifungal assessment of plant extracts, biocontrol agents and fungicides against Fusarium verticillioides (Sacc.) causing ear rot of maize
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Ear rot is a prominent biotic threat of maize causing significant yield loss and poor quality of grains. The antifungal activity of aqueous extract of Acorus calamus L., Xanthoxylum armatum DC., Azadirachta indica A. Juss., Lantana camera L. and Artemisia indica Willd at three different concentrations (1, 2 and 3% W/V), four chemical fungicides viz., Dithane M-45 (Mancozeb 75% WP), SAAF (Carbendazim 12% + Mancozeb 63% WP), ACME-COP (Copper oxychloride 50% WP) and Bavistin (Carbendazim 50% WP) at (500, 1000 and 1500 ppm) and three biocontrol agents (BCA) namely Trichoderma viride, Trichoderma harzianum and Trichoderma koningii were investigated against Fusarium verticilliodes (Sacc.) causing ear rot of maize. The experiment was carried out by poisoned food and dual culture techniques in a completely randomized design with five replications under laboratory conditions at National Maize Research Program, Rampur, Chitwan during the summer season of 2019. F. verticillioides showed significant growth inhibition in all the treatments compared to control. The A. calamus even at a lower dose (1% W/V on PDA) was able to check completely the growth of pathogen (4.00 mm). The mycelial growth inhibition per cent of A. calamus, L. camera, X. armatum, A. indica, and Artemisia indica at 3% W/V was 95.50, 51.13, 45.50, 42.12 and 35.36% respectively. In the case of fungicides, at 1500 ppm, the maximum antifungal potential was observed with SAAF (86.32%) followed by Dithane M-45 (80.27%), Bavistin (64.80%) and ACME-COP (59.42%). Antagonist Trichoderma viride completely overgrows F. verticillioides and covers the entire medium surface and exhibit more than 60% inhibition on the 7th day of incubation. The antifungal components from these plant extracts, fungicides and antagonists explored in this study need to be tested further in field experiments to control the ear rot of maize.