The use of essential oils to protect rice from storage fungi


  • A. Magro Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical - IP. Trav. Conde da Ribeira, 9. 1300-142 Lisboa. Portugal. Email:
  • O. Matos Instituto Nacional Recursos Biológicos – IP, Estação Agronómica Nacional. Av. da República, Quinta do Marquês, Nova Oeiras, 2784-505 Oeiras. Portugal
  • M. Bastos Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Engenharia (LEPAE). Rua Dr. Roberto Frias. 4200-465 Porto. Portugal
  • M. Carolino Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, Centro de Biologia Ambiental. Edifício C2, Campo Grande. 1149- 016 Lisboa. Portugal
  • A. Lima Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Instituto Superior de Agronomia. Tapada da Ajuda.1349-017 Lisboa. Portugal
  • A. Mexia Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Instituto Superior de Agronomia. Tapada da Ajuda.1349-017 Lisboa. Portugal



Rice (Oryza sativa) is the main food of half of the population of our planet. The growth of fungi closely associated to the eventual occurrence of mycotoxins can be responsible for serious economic losses and public health risks. Knowledge about the origin of the growth of toxigenic fungi is a prerequisite to the establishment of mycotoxin control programs. Socio-economical and environmental factors led to an extreme reduction of rice availability, while the estimated rice production losses increased in all continents what increases the importance to develop new harmless strategies for the control of fungi affecting stored rice. Natural products from plant origin were screened for the control of main pernicious fungi.

In this work we have collected rice samples from different origins (national and imported) and these samples were analysed for fungal infection. Several fungi taxa were isolated: Absidia, Alternaria, Aspergillus, Bipolaris, Botrytis, Chaetomium, Curvularia, Cunninghamela, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Helicoma, Nigrospora, Penicillium, Pyricularia, Rhizopus, Scytalidium, Stemphylium, Sordaria, Trichoconiella, Trichoderma, Trichothecium and Ulocladium. Some of the fungi isolated are potentially mycotoxigenic. We also studied a way to control the growth of some of these fungi using plant extracts and essential oils from Syzyginum aromaticum and Laurus nobilis. Promising results were obtained.

Keywords: Rice, Cereals, Fungi, Bio-pesticides, Plant extracts.