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Can horsetail weed extract become the source of a new biopesticide to combat late blight?

Scientists from Tyumen State University in Russia took part in a research study on how peptide extracts of medicinal plants affect the development of potato late blight. Horsetail extract is recognized as holding promise for combating it, and might become a main source for the development of a new biopesticide, the press service of Tyumen State University reported on Thursday. The results of the work were published in the journal Plants.

According to the authors of the publication, plant diseases caused by mycelial organisms (oomycetes) are a serious problem for agriculture all over the world. One of these diseases – late blight – affects potatoes and tomatoes. The causative agent of the disease – phytophthora oomycete (Phytophthora infestans) – causes leaf necrosis in potatoes, decomposition of tubers and plant’s death.

“A common way to combat late blight is the treatment of potatoes with pesticides. However, pathogenic microorganisms are becoming more and more resistant to chemicals. Therefore, scientists are looking for alternative ways to protect plants,” the press service quotes one of the authors of the study, head of the “youth” scientific laboratory of antimicrobial resistance, candidate of biological sciences Alexei Vasilchenko.

According to the scientist, natural extracts obtained from plants used in medicine, are a promising addition to chemical pesticides. Their use will reduce the amount of pesticide residues in food and the environment. In addition, the cost of complex plant protection can be reduced.

The effect of seven medicinal plants on phytophthora was studied by a team of researchers from the Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry (the Russian Academy of Sciences), the Gause Institute for the Research of New Antibiotics, the Russian Institute for Plant Protection, X-BIO Institute of Tyumen State University and Timiryazev State Agrarian University (Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy).

Large celandine (Chelidonium majus); elecampane high (Inula helertium); horsetail (Equisetum arvense); laurel (Laurus nobilis); green tea (Camellia sinensis); St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) were selected for the experiment. Potato tubers were cut into discs and processed with extracts. The scientists then observed the germination of phytophthora in vitro using optical microscopy.

“The most evident effect was shown by the peptide extract from horsetail. Thus, according to the authors of the article, a candidate was selected for the role of an active substance for the development of a new biopesticide,” the press service said.

The research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. Research is carried out on the topic “Biosafety of humans, animals and plants” of the West Siberian interregional science and education center. 

Source: TASS

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