This study aims to determine the essential oil chemical composition of Lippia alba (Mill.) N.E.Br. ex Britton & P. Wilson collected in the Brazilian Chaco where plants grow in conditions of high temperatures in the summer, periodic flood, low temperatures and air humidity in the winter. We also evaluate the oil antifungal activity against the animal and plant pathogenic fungi Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger, A. terreus, Fusarium sp., Penicillium funiculosum and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Leaf essential oils were extracted by Clevenger hydrodistillation and characterized by GC-MS. The major essential oil components were linalool (38.26%), trans-ocimenone (6.57%) and caryophyllene oxide (6.48%). At first time L. alba from Brazilian Chaco was identified as a chemotype producing linalool. The essential oils showed antifungal activity, mainly against S. slerotiorum, a fungi species related with diseases in soybean plants, with 100% of growth inhibition. These results suggest the potential alternative of this species to synthetic fungicides and confirm its popular uses as an important medicinal plant in South America.
Key words: Brazilian Chaco, erva cidreira, essential oil, pathogenic fungi, glandular trichome, terpenes.
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