Maize (Zea mays L.) seed samples were collected from three markets in Minna, Niger State to investigate the effect of Fusarium verticilloides, its metabolites and neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf ethanolic extract on germination of the seeds and seedling vigour. Among the fungi genera isolated from the seeds samples wereAspergillus spp. (41.18%), Fusarium spp. (29.41%) and Rhizopus spp. (23.53%).F. verticilloides metabolite was extracted using dichloromethane and phosphoric acid (10:1) while powdered neem leaf was extracted with ethanol for 72 h. The experiment, which was made up of eight treatments and three replicates, was set up in a germination chamber. At 9 days after sowing (9 DAS), the seeds applied with combined F. verticilloides mycelia and their metabolites had the least germination percentage (30%), the highest rot-index (3.5) and the least seedling vigour (0.93). The seeds applied with neem extract only had the highest germination percentage of 100%, the least rot index (0.5) and seedling vigour index (5.4). Though neem leaf extract proved to be fungitoxic against F. verticilloides,further investigation on the pathogenic mode of action of fusariotoxin on germination and growth of cereal crops on the field is necessary.
Key words: Fusarium verticilloides, metabolites, neem leaf extract, germination, vigour indices, maize.
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