Antifungal activity of root extract of Asclepias syriaca L. on causal agents of apple bitter rot.
During storage, apple fruits are exposed to the potential infection by various phytopathogenic fungi. The damage that occurs in this period can be substantial due to the fact that the fruit is already formed and ready for market placement. Some of the most common fungi in apple storage are Penicillium spp., Alternaria spp., Colletotrichum spp., Monilinia spp., Botrytis cinerea. Control of these fungi mostly relies on chemical treatments before harvest. The negative impact on the environment, pesticide residues in soil and plant parts and resistance in target organisms, are just some of the consequences caused by frequent use of chemical pesticides, which is why research and application of biopesticides in plant protection is desirable. In previous years, the weed species Aclepias siryaca has been spreading intensively in the Balkans, including Serbia. Supposedly, it has arrived in Serbia from the neighboring country of Hungary, where it was mostly grown as a honey plant. Today, this plant causes great damage to the ruderal and arable agricultural lands. With its large habitus, it is a great competitor to other plants, both spontaneous and cultivated crops, especially in wheat, sunflower, soybean, barley, rapeseed crops, in orchards and vineyards. Chemical measures have so far proved to be the most successful form of control of this plant, applied in the early stages of development, but the best way is still a combination of mechanical and chemical methods. Although this plant can cause great damage on the one hand, on the other hand, there is the potential to find practical application in the control of some other weed species and phytopathogenic microorganisms. This trial examines antifungal effect of root extract of invasive plant species Asclepias syriaca against causal agents of apple bitter rot - Colletotrichum spp., with an aim to evaluate its potential as a biofungicidal treatment of apple fruits.