Postharvest Biological Control of Gray Mold (Botrytis cinerea) on Strawberry Fruit

in HortScience
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  • 1 Horticultural Sciences Dept., P.O. Box 110690, Fifield Hall, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690

Biological control using antagonistic microorganisms has been the subject of increased interest for postharvest pathogen control. Gray mold is an important factor in the perishability of strawberry fruit, both pre- and postharvest. In view of the specific characteristics of this host–pathogen interaction, strawberry fruit represent a suitable commodity with which to investigate the efficacy of alternative control, including the use of biological measures. During 1994 and 1995, ripe strawberry fruit were harvested from local plantings and endemic microflora were analyzed for potential antagonist modes of action toward B. cinerea. Two bacteria were isolated and these, along with other bacteria and yeast obtained from other sources, were used to inoculate strawberry fruit stored at different temperatures. Effects of storage temperature and interactions of pathogen/antagonist and fruit quality were determined. The results illustrate the potential of using yeast at low temperatures and bacteria at higher, ambient conditions to achieve effective postharvest control of B. cinerea. Microorganisms derived from the fruit and of presumably local origin exhibited significant biocontrol effects and showed a higher capacity for adaptation to the handling practices of strawberry fruit, especially at lower storage temperatures.

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