Comparing Neem Seed Oil with Calcium Chloride and Fungicides for Controlling Postharvest Apple Decay

in HortScience
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  • 1 Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705

The antifungal properties of a hydrophobic neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) seed extract (clarified neem oil) were tested against three postharvest apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) pathogens—Botrytis cinerea (pers.) ex Fr. (gray mold), Penicillium expansum Thom. (blue mold rot), and Glomerella cingulata (Ston.) Spauld. & Schrenk. (bitter rot). The antifungal activity of neem seed oil also was compared to that of CaCl2. A 2% aqueous emulsion of the clarified neem seed oil was moderately fungicidal to B. cinerea and G. cingulata in inoculated fruit, but bad little activity against P. expansum. Ethylene production was reduced 80% in fruit dipped in 2% neem seed oil compared to wounded, inoculated controls. Neem seed oil was as effective an antifungal agent as CaCl2, but the effects of the two combined were not additive.

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