Induced plant secondary metabolites for phytopatogenic fungi control: a review
Pathogenic fungi constitute one of the main infectious agents in plants, causing alterations during developmental stages including post-harvest. Phytopathogenic fungi are controlled by synthetic fungicides; however, the use of these is progressively restricted due to both, the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment and human health and the appearance of highly resistant fungal strains. Therefore, there is a great demand for novel natural fungicides. Higher plants are rich source of bioactive secondary metabolites of wide variety such as tannins, terpenoids, saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, and other compounds, reported to have in vitro antifungal properties. Thus, secondary metabolites with antifungal activity represent an alternative for achieving a sustainable control of phytopathogenic fungi and to reduce the heavy reliance of synthetic pesticides used to control them. Plant antifungal metabolites may be preformed inhibitors that are present constitutively in healthy plants (phytoanticipins), or they may be synthesized de novo in response to pathogen attack or another stress conditions (phytoalexins). These molecules may be used directly or considered as a precursor for developing better fungicidal molecules. This review presents a selection of antifungal agents induced in plants during fungal attack that can be potentially used for phytopathogenic fungi control in crops.