Fumigation of Fruit with Acetic Acid to Prevent Postharvest Decay

in HortScience
Authors:
P.L. SholbergAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Centre, Summerland, British Columbia, V0H 1Z0, Canada

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A.P. GaunceAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Centre, Summerland, British Columbia, V0H 1Z0, Canada

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Acetic acid (AA) as a vapor at low concentrations was effective in preventing fruit decay by postharvest fungi. Fumigation with 2.7 or 5.4 mg AA/liter in air at 2 and 20C reduced germination of Botrytis cinerea Pers. and Penicillium expansum Link conidia to zero after they had been dried on 0.5-cm square pieces of dialysis tubing. Decay of `Golden Delicious', `Red Delicious', and `Spartan' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) inoculated with 20 μl drops of conidia of B. cinerea (1.0 × 105 conidia/ml) or P. expansum (1.0 × 106 conidia/ml) was prevented by fumigating with 2.0 and 2.7 mg AA/liter, respectively. Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), grapes (Vitis vinifera L.), and kiwifruit [Actinidia deliciosa (A. Chev.) C.F. Liang et R. Ferguson var. deliciosa] inoculated with B. cinerea or navel oranges (Citrus sinensis L.) inoculated with P. italicum Wehmer did not decay when fumigated with 2.0 mg AA/liter at 5C. AA fumigation at low temperatures (1 and 5C) with 2.0 or 4.0 mg AA/liter prevented decay of `Spartan' and `Red Delicious' apples and `Anjou' pears (Pyrus communis L.) inoculated with B. cinerea and P. expansum, respectively. `Spartan' apples immersed in a suspension of P. expansum conidia (1.4 × 105 conidia/ml) and fumigated with 2.7 mg AA/liter at 5C had an average of 0.7 lesions per fruit compared to 6.1 for nontreated fruit. Increasing the relative humidity from 17% to 98% increased the effectiveness of AA fumigation at 5 and 20C. At the concentrations used in our trials, AA had no apparent phytotoxic effects on the fruit. The potential for commercial fumigation with AA to control postharvest decay of fruit and vegetables appears promising.

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