Effect of antimicrobial activity of Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil on antagonistic potential of Pleurotus species against Trichoderma harzianum in dual culture
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Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) essential oil was investigated for its “in vitro” ability to control Trichoderma harzianum, a fungal contaminant that causes extensive losses in the cultivation of Pleurotus species. The antifungal activity of M. alternifolia essential oil and antagonist activities between Pleurotus species against three T. harzianum strains were studied in dual-culture experiments on an agar-based medium in which different concentrations of essential oil were incorporated. M. alternifolia essential oil at a concentration of 0.625 μL/mL, inhibited T. harzianum mycelial growth by 5.9–9.0%, depending on the strain. At the same concentrations P. ferulae and P. nebrodensis stimulated mycelial growth by 5.2–8.1%. All strains of T. harzianum were antagonistic to the Pleurotus species in the control. When essential oil was added to the substrate cultural, the antagonistic activity of T. harzianum against the Pleurotus species was weak (0.0625 μL of essential oil) or non-existent (0.125 μL of essential oil). M. alternifolia essential oil could be an alternative to the synthetic chemicals that are currently used to prevent and control T. harzianum in mushroom cultivation.