Document Type

Honors Thesis




Seanna Annis

Committee Members

James Brophy, Jianjun Hao, YongJiang Zhang

Graduation Year

May 2023

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Maine’s wild blueberries are a vital economic and ecological resource for growers, consumers, and researchers alike. Fungal diseases like Monilinia vacciniicorymbosi (MVC) reduce the yield of berries from infected plants by killing plant tissues and damaging fruit. Understanding what blueberry plants use to defend themselves against fungal pathogens can give a greater insight into increasing plant immunity as a whole. This project aims to better understand the wild blueberry antifungal defense response. I extracted bioactive compounds from the healthy leaves of low severity and high severity disease-affected plants and separated the molecules with thin layer chromatography (TLC). Aspergillus sp. acted as a standard test pathogen. Spores were mixed into an agarose medium and applied to the TLC plates using a spray apparatus. The solutions displaying antifungal activity inhibited the growth of the fungus, leaving uncolonized patches on the plate. The retention factors (Rf) of areas with inhibition were calculated and the extracts were chemically characterized to identify the antifungal compounds present in the plants. This research will improve understanding of the defenses of wild blueberry and other Ericaceous species. In the future, we can examine which growing conditions in the field increase these compounds and what their effects are on managing disease levels.