R ES E A R C H Open Access
Anti-mycotic potential of Trichoderma spp.
and leaf biomass of Azadirachta indica
against the charcoal rot pathogen,
Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) Goid
, Madiha Munir, Arshad Javaid, Zoia Arshad Awan and Muhammad Rafiq
Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) Goid is a destructive pathogen of cowpea that causes serious charcoal rot disease
with significant yield losses. Antifungal activity of three indigenous Ascomycetes viz., Trichoderma harzianum, T.
viride, and T. hamatum, and two Meliaceae members, i.e., Melia azedarach L. and Azadirachta indica L. were assessed
against the pathogen. Laboratory screening trials with cell-free culture filtrate showed the maximum reduction in
growth of M. phaseolina with T. harzianum, followed by T. viride. Various concentrations (1–5%) of methanolic leaf
extract of A. indica showed more reduction in fungal biomass than M. azedarach. Pot experiment was performed by
T. harzianum, T. viride,anddryleafbiomassofA. indica against M. phaseolina. Results revealed that potted soil amended
with T. harzianum in combination with 1–3% dry leaf biomass of A. indica held a significant potential to decrease disease
incidence to 20–25% and improve plant growth attributes up to fourfolds over positive control inoculated with M.
phaseolina only. Physiology of the host plant was altered due to the incorporation of various soil amendments resulting
in reduced activities of antioxidant enzymes (catalase, peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase, and phenylalanine ammonia lyase).
It was concluded that fungal antagonists and allelopathic chemicals would be an effective and eco-friendly means of
managing the charcoal rot disease.
Keywords: Allelopathic effect, Antioxidant enzymes, Biological control, Charcoal rot, Plant biomass
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) is one of the most
important, oldest, herbaceous legume crop, widely culti-
vated for fodder and grain in the Pakistan and semi-arid
tropics of the world (Mensack et al. 2010). Its substantial
adaptation to drought, elevated temperatures, a wider
spectrum of pH, requirement of less fertilizers and min-
imal irrigation relative to many other legumes, increase
its preference by the farmers in improving their
socio-economic status and in contributing agricultural
productivity. However, cowpea growth and productivity
are suppressed by very destructive and economically im-
portant charcoal rot disease caused by the seed and
soil-borne necrotrophic fungus Macrophomina phaseo-
lina (Tassi) Goid. The pathogen is widely distributed in
the regions with high temperatures and drought condi-
tions, while it is responsible for infecting more than 500
plant species including cowpea, mung bean, chickpea,
sorghum, sunflower, etc. Disease causes wilting of host
plant after infection and pathogen keeps on producing
microsclerotia in senescing shoot tissues which causes
further decay of host tissue (Mayek-Perez et al. 2001).
There are no effective fungicides or other control
methods to limit M. phaseolina (Gaige et al. 2010).
Disease management through utilizing native antagonistic
soil fungi and allelopathic plants is an attractive alternative
among the disease management practices. Trichoderma is
a common filamentous biocontrol fungal agent, found al-
most in any soil type. The antifungal activity of this genus
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan
Egyptian Journal of
Biological Pest Control
© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Shoaib et al. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control (2018) 28:26