Prevalence and Management of Phytopathogenic Seed-Borne Fungi of Maize

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Seed-borne fungi are solemn and deleterious pathogens capable of causing significant losses of quantity and quality losses in maize seeds and seedlings. They infect the crop at all points of the production chain from farms to stores. A yield loss of up to 50% can be encountered. Currently, chemical control of the disease is being implemented, though it is accompanied by several negative effects. This study aimed at identifying seed-borne fungi of maize and effective management options. A deep-freezing blotter method and morphological identification of the fungal species were implemented. The seed-borne fungi detected were Fusarium verticillioides, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger, Penicillium spp., Rhizopus spp., and Curvularia spp. However, in farmer-saved seeds, fungal incidences were significantly higher (p < 0.01) than in certified seeds. To identify more effective management options, the efficacy of water and ethanol-extracted bio-fungicides from three plant species, namely, neem (Azadirachta indica), ginger (Zingiber officinale), and coffee (Coffea arabica) were evaluated. From in vitro assays, ethanol-extracted bio-fungicides have a 100% inhibitory effect on fungal growth, whilst the inhibitory effects of water-extracted bio-fungicides are 55.88% (Azadirachta indica) and 46.31% (Zingiber officinale), followed by 5.15% (Coffea arabica). For the case of an in vivo assay, maize seeds treated with water-extracted bio-fungicides have higher seed germination and seedling vigor percentages. For germination, seeds treated with water-extracted bio-fungicides have higher percentages (neem and ginger (90%) followed by coffee (72.5%)) than ethanol-extracted bio-fungicides (neem (0%), ginger (2.5%), and coffee (0%)). A similar observation is made for seedling weight. Therefore, the tested water-extracted bio-fungicides can be used in treating seeds before sowing them. Further studies on effective methods of extracting bioactive compounds, and improving their shelf life, are recommended.


Journal Article


Anti-fungal, Bio-fungicide, Farmer-saved seed, Seed-borne fungi, Seed treatment


Erasto, R.; Kilasi, N.; Madege, R.R. Prevalence and Management of Phytopathogenic Seed-Borne Fungi of Maize. Seeds 2023, 2, 30–42.