, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 432-437
Date: 08 Jan 2009

Studies on leaf spot disease of Withania somnifera and its impact on secondary metabolites

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During an investigation of the disease profile of Withania somnifera, it was observed that leaf spot is the most prevalent disease. Repeated isolations from infected leaf tissues and pathogenicity tests showed the association of fungal pathogen identified as Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissler. Scanning electron microscopy showed various histological changes in the leaf tissues of infected plants. A decrease in total content of reducing sugars (20%) and chlorophyll (26.5%) was observed in diseased leaves whereas an increase was noticed in proline (25%), free amino acids (3%) and proteins (74.3%). High performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) analysis of secondary metabolites viz. withanolides, withaferin-A and total alkaloids of the diseased leaves vis-à-vis control revealed reduction in withaferin-A and withanolides contents by 15.4% and 76.3% respectively, in contrast to an increase in total alkaloids by 49.3%, information hitherto unreported in W. somnifera.