BiofumigationwithMuscodoralbus Pads for Controlling Decay in Commercial Table Grape Cartons

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  • 1 Agra Quest Inc., Research and Development, Davis, CA, 95616

The volatile-producing fungus Muscodoralbus is being developed as a biological fumigant for postharvest use, as it can kill storage pathogens and control fungal decay in various commodities. A wettable pad or sachet system made of teabag paper containing desiccated rye grain culture of M. albus was designed for the biofumigation of individual fruit containers. The fungus is reactivated before use by a brief immersion of the pad in water. This research was conducted to determine the potential of the pad system for controlling decay of table grapes in commercial cartons. Individual pads containing 24 or 86 g of grain culture (to achieve a 1:10 ratio of fumigant to box volume or a 1:100 ratio of fumigant to fruit weight, respectively) were added to Styrofoam cartons containing 8.6 kg of freshly harvested `Thompson Seedless' (TS) or `Ruby Seedless' (RS) grapes, which were then placed in cold storage at –1 to 0 °C. Control cartons exposed to SO2 were placed in a separate storage room and SO2 fumigation was performed once for TS and weekly for RS. After 8 to 9 weeks, the grapes were taken out of storage and rated for decay. In the experiment with TS, the 24-g and 86-g pads provided significant control of gray mold rot when compared to untreated cartons and were not statistically different from cartons exposed to a single SO2 fumigation. In the experiment with RS, only the 86-g pads provided significant decay control. Measurements of the three most abundant volatile compounds in empty cartons containing 10 g of the biofumigant revealed that partial coverage of holes mimicking obstruction by packed fruit achieved levels of isobutyl alcohol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, and isobutyric acid of 0.7, 1.6, and 11.2 ppb, respectively.

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