Biochemical Activity of Ocimum gratissimum Essential Oil Against Fruit-Rotting Fungi Penicillium expansum and Penicillium digitatum

  • Arshad H. RizviEmail author
  • M. M. Abid Ali Khan
  • Praveen C. Verma
  • Gauri Saxena


The fruit-rotting fungi Penicillium expansum and Penicillium digitatum are the primary cause of postharvest losses as they cause blue mold of apples and green mold of oranges, respectively. In addition to rotting, they also contaminate food with their highly toxic chemical known as patulin, which is well known for its carcinogenic effect. In the present study, the essential oil of Ocimum gratissimum obtained by hydro-distillation was tested for its antifungal assay against P. expansum and P. digitatum in in vitro culture conditions. 500 ppm MIC of the essential oil completely inhibited the mycelial growth of both the test fungi in vitro. The inhibitory effect of the essential oil was also observed directly on the fruits, apples and oranges inoculated with P. expansum and P. digitatum spore suspensions in vivo. They were fumigated with the essential oil of O. gratissimum for 10 days and the results obtained showed potent biochemical activity up to 93 % against blue mold rot of apples and up to 75 % against green mold rot of oranges. The present study suggests use of Ocimum oil as a safe, effective and alternative means to control fruit rotting fungi.


Blue mold Green mold Ocimum gratissimum Essential oil Post harvest losses Antifungal 



The authors are grateful to the Central Laboratory Facility, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, for GC and GC-MS spectra.


  1. Beye F (1978) Insecticides from the vegetable kingdom. Plant Res Dev 7:13–31Google Scholar
  2. Dixit SN, Tripathi NN, Tripathi SC (1978) Fungitoxicity of some seed extract. Nat Acad Sci Lett 1:287–288Google Scholar
  3. Dubey NK, Tiwari TN, Mandin D, Andriamboavonjy H, Chaumout JP (2000a) Antifungal properties of O. gratissimum essential oil. Fitoterapi 71:567–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dubey NK, Tripathi P, Singh HB, (2000b) Prospects of some essential oils as antifungal agents. J Med Aromat Plant Sci 22:350–354Google Scholar
  5. Fawcett CH, Spencer DM (1970) Plant chemotherapy with natural products. Annual Rev Phytopath 8:403–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Garcha HC, Singh V (1980) Post-harvest diseases of fruits in Punjab. Ind Phytopath 33:42–47Google Scholar
  7. Hayes AW (1980) Mycotoxin: a review of biological effects and their role in human disease. Clin Toxicol 17:45PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jacobson M, Crosby DG (1971) Naturally occurring insecticides. Marcel Dekke, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Lancaster MC, Jenkins FP, Philip MLJ (1961) Toxicity Associated with certain samples of groundnuts. Nature 192:1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mishra AK, Dubey NK (1994). Evaluation of some essential oils for their toxicity against fungi causing deterioration of stored food commodities. Appl Environ Microbial 60(4):1101–1105Google Scholar
  11. Natrajan KR (1989) Mycotoxin and human health. Biol Edu 6:23–27Google Scholar
  12. Newberne PM, rogers AE, Wagan GN (1968) Hepatorenal lesions in rats fed low lipotrope diet and exposed to aflatoxin. J Nutri XCIV:331–342Google Scholar
  13. Pandey AK, Chaudhary AR, (2001) Composition of the essential oil of Ocimum gratissimum grown in Madhya Pradesh. JMAP Sci 22 & 23:26–28Google Scholar
  14. Prusky D, Keen NT (1993) Involvement of performed antifungal compound in the resistance of subtropical fruits to fungal decay. Pt Dis 77:114–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rashmi, Yadav BP (1999) A comparative efficacy of fungicides and plant extracts on radial growth and biomass production of Alternaria alternata. J App Biol 9:73–76Google Scholar
  16. Reuveni R, Fleisher A, Putievsky E (1984) Fungistatic activity of essential oils from Ocimum basilicum chemotypes. Phytopathology 110:20–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Richard JL, Cole RJ, Archibald SO (1989) Mycotoxin, economic and health risks. Council of Agricultural Science and Technology Report, p 116Google Scholar
  18. Yang RZ, Tong CS (1988) Plants used for pest control in China. Econ Bot 42:376–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arshad H. Rizvi
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. M. Abid Ali Khan
    • 1
  • Praveen C. Verma
    • 2
  • Gauri Saxena
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BotanyShia PG CollegeLucknowIndia
  2. 2.National Botanical Research Institute (CSIR)LucknowIndia
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of LucknowLucknowIndia

Personalised recommendations