A number of natural volatile compounds exhibit promise as postharvest fumigants for control of Botrytis on strawberry fruit. Because some of compounds may cause apparent phytotoxic responses by the fruit, short duration treatment is desirable. The compounds have been evaluated in single fruit bioassays with passively established modified atmospheres using a polymer film. The compound source was removed after 3 hours, 1, 3, or 7 days, or remained in the containers for the 10 day duration of the study. At levels which inhibited Botrytis in closed containers without film, E-2-hexenal was effective with a 1-day treatment, diethyl acetal was increasingly effective as treatment period increased, and 2-nonanone and methyl salicylate were not effective with continuous treatment. The levels of both the source compound and its metabolites were different using the film than without it. The film, used to allow gas diffusion and exchange with the surrounding environment, may allow diffusion of the volatile compounds and their metabolites. Thus, successful use of the compounds in modified atmosphere storage may require knowledge of their diffusion through the films to establish the appropriate levels for effective fumigation of the fruit and avoid adverse quality effects.
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