Inhibition of Aspergillus flavus growth and detoxification of aflatoxin B1 by the medicinal plant zimmu (Allium sativum L. × Allium cepa L.)

  • R. Sandosskumar
  • M. Karthikeyan
  • S. Mathiyazhagan
  • M. Mohankumar
  • G. Chandrasekar
  • R. Velazhahan
Original Paper


Aflatoxins are carcinogenic, teratogenic and immunosuppressive secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxin contamination of peanut is one of the most important constraints to peanut production worldwide. In order to develop an eco-friendly method of prevention of A. flavus infection and aflatoxin contamination in peanut, aqueous extracts obtained from leaves of 30 medicinal plants belonging to different families were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of A. flavus in vitro. Among them the leaf extract of zimmu (Allium sativum L. × Allium cepa L.) was the only one that showed antifungal activity against A. flavus and recorded 73% inhibition of A. flavus growth. The antifungal activity of the zimmu extract was significantly decreased upon dialysis with a dialysis membrane having molecular cut off 12 kDa or autoclaving at 121°C for 20 min or boiling at 100°C for 10 min and recorded inhibition of 52, 16 and 21%, respectively. When A. flavus was grown in medium containing zimmu extract the production of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) was completely inhibited even at a concentration of 0.5%. When AFB1 was incubated with zimmu extract a complete degradation of AFB1 was observed 5 days after incubation. When the roots of zimmu were incubated in water containing 70 ng of AFB1/ml, a reduction (by 58.5%) in AFB1 concentration was observed 5 days after incubation. A significant reduction in the population of A. flavus in the soil, kernel infection by A. flavus and aflatoxin contamination in kernels was observed when peanut was intercropped with zimmu. The population of the fungal antagonist, Trichoderma viride in the zimmu-intercropped field increased approximately twofold.


Medicinal plants Detoxification Aflatoxin Aspergillus flavus Arachis hypogaea 



This research was supported by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Sandosskumar
    • 1
  • M. Karthikeyan
    • 1
  • S. Mathiyazhagan
    • 1
  • M. Mohankumar
    • 1
  • G. Chandrasekar
    • 1
  • R. Velazhahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology, Centre for Plant Protection StudiesTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia

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