(191) UVC Light Treatment Reduces Decay of Blueberries

in HortScience
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  • 1 USDA–ARS, Lane, OK, 74555

Ultraviolet light treatment has been used successfully to reduce postharvest fungal decay in tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and citrus, presumably through elevated spore death and/or increased phytoalexins. The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effectiveness of UVC light as a postharvest treatment for blueberries. `Blue Crop' and `Collins' fruit were harvested from a local grower in 2003 and 2004 and exposed to 0, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Joules of light (354 nm) supplied from 30-W germicidal bulbs. Fruit were held at 5 °C for 14 days. Application of 1000 to 2000 J UVC light reduced decay incidence by 10% compared to controls. The major decay organism was ripe rot (Collectotrichum gloeosporioides). Total phenolics, total anthocyanin, and ferric reducing absorbance power differed with variety, increased with storage, and were similar among light treatments. Firmness of non-decayed fruit was not affected by storage or treatment. Application of UVC light offers a means for reducing fungal decay in blueberries if applied at rates between 1000 and 4000 J.

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