Assessing the Efficacy of Azadirachta indica Seed Extract on Fusarium Oxysporum
Global population pressure has posed great challenge on food security with over 800 million people having no access to adequate food and about two billion faced with hunger and malnutrition. Banana (Musa spp.) is the world’s fourth most important global food crop after rice, wheat and maize in terms of production. The cultivation of banana is however threatened by pests and diseases and diverse anthropogenic activities which have influenced and changed the climate. Generally, climate change impacts on agriculture and food security across the globe decreasing crop productivity while extreme weather conditions such as flooding, drought, hurricanes etc. increase disease transmission. Fusarium oxysporum, a soil borne fungus affects banana production, causing vascular wilts and damage to banana plantations by infecting plant roots, cortex and stele. Several fungicides have been employed to curb these losses. Plant extracts have, however, played significant role in the inhibition of seed-borne pathogenic F. oxysporum. Eco-friendly Neem (Azadirachta indica) extracts have been reported to gain prominence over inorganic fungicides. This study investigated the effectiveness of Neem (Azadirachta indica) seed extract at varying concentrations of 10, 20 and 50% against F. oxysporum in Potato Dextrose medium for 120 h. using pour plate and cork boring methods. The results obtained showed inhibited growth of the test fungus with 50% having the greatest percentage inhibition. This indicates that A. indica seed extract has fungicidal effect on F . oxysporum and has the potential to curb banana losses and hence enhance banana production and thus ensure food security.