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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Potential Use of Australian "tea Tree Oil" (Melaleuca Alternifolia) As a Method of Control for Several Plant Pathogens.

item Caolo Tanski, Janet
item Hanson, Linda
item Hill, Amy

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2002
Publication Date: April 17, 2002
Citation: Caolo Tanski, J.M., Hanson, L.E., Hill, A.L., Hill, J.P. 2002. The potential use of australian "tea tree oil" (melaleuca alternifolia) as a method of control for several plant pathogens.. Meeting Abstract.

Technical Abstract: The essential oil from Melaleuca alternifolia ("tea tree oil") has been used for pharmaceutical and household products and as an antiseptic treatment for human ailments. Although there have been a few studies on the use of the oil to control plant pathogens, it has been largely an unexplored area. Because of growing concern by the public over the use of synthetic pesticides there is an emphasis on developing alternative treatments that are perceived to be less dangerous to humans and the environment. Our work tests the effectiveness of Melaleuca oil in the control of several plant pathogens that can cause severe losses in agricultural crops. The oil's anti-microbial activity was tested in vitro against 7 fungal and 2 oomycetous plant pathogens: Growth of all organisms was significantly decreased or inhibited completely at 60ul to 100ul of oil in 30ml of potato dextrose agar. Greenhouse studies are being conducted to determine whether Melaleuca oil could be effective as a seed treatment in the control of Rhizoctonia solani (AG-4) on cotton, and Cochliobolus sativum and Fusarium graminearum on wheat. A foliar oil treatment to control Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on dry beans, soybeans, and sunflowers also is being tested. In the field the oil was used as a foliar treatment to attempt to manage Alternaria solani on potato and Cercospora beticola on sugarbeets. Results are being analyzed, and experiments are ongoing. Initial laboratory findings show potential for the oil to be used in an integrated program for control of fungi on agricultural crops.

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
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