"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Sunflower extract fights fungus to maintain blueberries fresh.

It's a bummer to open a clamshell of berries and find them encased in a moldy mold. And this is not any small problem. Gray mold and other fungi, which cause fruit rot, cause significant economic losses and food wastage. Now, researchers report in ACS that compounds from sunflower crop waste inhibit rot in blueberries. They suggest that the food industry can use these natural compounds to guard against post-harvest diseases.

Sunflowers are cultivated worldwide for his or her seeds and oil, however the flower stems – often known as receptacles – are generally considered waste. Given that this crop is especially proof against a variety of plant diseases, Xiao-Dong Luo, Yun Zhao and colleagues decided to research whether its receptors are answerable for this protective effect. May contain chemical ingredients. They also desired to know if these compounds might be used to inhibit fungal plant pathogens in fruit, avoiding the toxicity and resistance related to chemical fungicides.

The researchers used methanol and ethyl acetate to arrange an extract from sunflower stems. They then isolated and characterised the components of those extracts, specializing in diterpenoids, known to have biological activity. They found 17 diterpenoids, including 4 previously unknown compounds. Most of the diterpenoids showed activity against gray mold. The 4 compounds – two of that are newly identified – were effective in disrupting the fungus' plasma membrane, causing its cells to slough off and stopping it from forming biofilms. In one other test, the researchers soaked blueberries briefly with extracts from the receptacle, then dried the fruits and injected them with mold spores. Over a six-day period, receptacle extracts protected roughly half of the berries from mold growth. Scientists concluded that sunflower stem extract may be used as a natural biocontrol agent to stop post-harvest disease in fruits.