In recent years, environmental-friendly measures have been developed for managing crop diseases as alternative to chemical pesticides, including the use of natural compounds such as chitosan. In this chapter, the common uses of this natural product in agriculture and its potential uses in plant disease control are reviewed. The last advanced researches as seed coating, plant resistance elicitation and soil amendment applications are also described. Chitosan is a deacetylated derivative of chitin that is naturally present in the fungal cell wall and in crustacean shells from which it can be easily extracted. Chitosan has been reported to possess antifungal and antibacterial activity and it showed to be effective against seedborne pathogens when applied as seed treatment. It can form physical barriers (film) around the seed surface, and it can vehicular other antimicrobial compounds that could be added to the seed treatments. Chitosan behaves as a resistance elicitor inducing both local and systemic plant defence responses even when applied to the seeds. The chitosan used as soil amendment was shown to give many benefits to different plant species by reducing the pathogen attack and infection. Concluding, the chitosan is an active molecule that finds many possibilities for application in agriculture, including plant disease control.
Part of the book: Biological Activities and Application of Marine Polysaccharides