Antifungal Activity From Prunus Maackii Periderm: A Possible Source for New Biopesticides




Despite advances in pest and disease management over the last 40 years, 10-16% of the annual global harvest is lost to disease. Large scale conventional farming heavily relies on synthetic pesticides to help control disease-causing pests, such as pathogenic bacteria or fungi. However, increasing concerns over the impact of pesticides on human health and the environment, as well as the increasing problem of pesticide resistance, has created a strong need for new pesticides that are both environmentally-safe and highly effective. Natural plant products with broad-spectrum fungicidal and/or bactericidal activity could offer an environmentally-friendly approach to pest control and therefore provide an attractive method for crop protection. Pesticides consisting of natural plant products could also be applicable in organic farming, an increasingly popular farming methodology which demands non-synthetic pest control products. Although plant-derived biocides have great potential for pest control in both conventional and organic farming, these chemistries remain largely untapped due to molecular complexity, limited environmental stability, and low activity as compared to synthetic pesticides.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University has developed a broad-spectrum antifungal natural product that could be used as a pesticide or as a template for the development of novel synthetic pesticides. The periderm, or bark, of P. maackii was found to significantly inhibit growth of a variety of Ascomycete, Basiciomycete, and Oomycete plant pathogens. Crude extract prepared from P. maackii bark is rich in phenolics and contains several compounds displaying antimicrobial activity. Antimicrobial compounds are highly concentrated in the crude extract; therefore the extract itself may be applied as a natural product fungicide. Two active compounds have been crystalized from the extracts, and their chemical structures are known.  Alternatively, antimicrobial compounds identified from the extract could be used to prepare novel fungicidal formulas or be used as templates for the development of novel synthetic pesticides.


Key Benefits

  • Broad-spectrum fungicide – significantly inhibits growth of a variety of pathogenic fungi
  • Highly active – fungal growth is greatly inhibited on media containing P. maackii extract with several isolates being completely non-viable
  • Simple extraction – a crude extract contains a sufficient concentration of antimicrobial compounds to be an effective fungicide
  • Low phytotoxicity – phytotoxicity has not been fully evaluated, but preliminary tests with tomato and cucumber indicate the extract is not phytotoxic



  • Biopesticides
  • Organic fungicides
  • Template for new synthetic pesticides


Patent Status


U.S. patent pending; foreign patent application published, no. WO2016022901A1




Raymond Hammerschmidt, Linzi Kaniszewski, Cory Outwater


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University