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  • From: mIEKAL aND <>
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  • Subject: [NAFEX] Fwd: Peppers Could Halt Fruit Mold
  • Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 08:19:14 -0700

Begin forwarded message:

From: ARS News Service <>
Date: Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:37:26 AM US/Pacific
To: ARS News subscriber <>
Subject: Peppers Could Halt Fruit Mold
Reply-To: ARS News Service <>

Peppers To Die For: These "Hot" Plants Could Protect Strawberries --
and More

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Erin Kendrick-Peabody, (301) 504-1624,
August 29, 2003

What's the connection between fiery cayenne peppers that give heat to
Creole cuisine, and the sweet, juicy strawberries of summertime?

A potent substance found in cayenne peppers may someday be used by
growers to battle the costly molds that can spoil strawberry, blueberry
and grape crops. Last year, Agricultural Research Service scientists
received a patent for a novel fungicide, called CAY-1, which is derived
from cayenne peppers. Now they are looking to find out how well its
fungal-fighting powers work on strawberry molds.

Anthony De Lucca, a microbiologist at ARS' Southern Regional Research
Center in New Orleans, La., teamed up with plant pathologists David
Wedge at ARS' Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford,
Miss., and Barbara Smith at the agency's Small Fruit Research Station,
Poplarville, Miss., to test CAY-1's efficacy on fungi that afflict
strawberries. With a year of promising plant and laboratory results
behind them, the scientists are conducting greenhouse studies that may
pave the way to CAY-1's commercial availability.

De Lucca isolated the CAY-1 saponin in his lab five years ago, while
searching for natural compounds to shield crops from infesting fungi.
Found widely in plants, saponins have detergent properties, causing them
to foam when shaken with water. Like laundry detergent that works by
penetrating a fabric's fiber, the cayenne saponin breaches fungal cells
by forming little holes along cell membranes.

CAY-1 has been shown to be active at low levels against Collectotrichum
and Phomopsis, two economically important fungal pathogens affecting
strawberries and other small fruits. In strawberries, Phomopsis causes
serious leaf blight and fruit disease.

But CAY-1's potential doesn't stop at crops. This powerful natural
derivative could support a range of applications, says De Lucca.
Possible uses include a mosquito larvacide, a molluscicide to rein in
the prolific zebra mussel that's fouling water supplies in the Great
Lakes, and a mildew-zapping bathroom product.

Already attracting industry attention, CAY-1's antifungal activity is
the focus of studies by several commercial companies. ARS is providing
the cooperators with the cayenne extract.

ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.

* This is one of the news reports that ARS Information distributes to
subscribers on weekdays.
* Start, stop or change an e-mail subscription at
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* Phone (301) 504-1638 | fax (301) 504-1648

  • [NAFEX] Fwd: Peppers Could Halt Fruit Mold, mIEKAL aND, 08/29/2003

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