Assessing the Efficacy of Preharvest Fungicide Applications to Control Postharvest Diseases of Florida Citrus

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 University of Florida-IFAS, Indian River Research and Education Center, Ft. Pierce, FL 34945-3138.
  • | 2 Florida Department of Citrus, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850-2299.
  • | 3 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2001 S. Rock Rd., Fort Pierce, FL 34945.

Studies were conducted between November 1999 and April 2003 to evaluate the effectiveness of compounds applied preharvest for reducing postharvest decay on many types of fresh citrus (Citrus spp.) fruit. Commercially mature fruit were harvested two different times after the compounds were applied, degreened when necessary, washed, waxed (without fungicide), and then stored at 50 °F (10.0 °C) with 90% relative humidity. Compared to control (unsprayed) fruit, preharvest application of benomyl or thiophanate-methyl resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) less decay of citrus fruit after storage in nine out of ten experiments, often reducing decay by about half. In one experiment, pyraclostrobin and phosphorous acid also significantly decreased total decay by 29% and 36%, respectively, after storage compared to the control. Only benomyl and thiophanate-methyl significantly reduced stem-end rot (SER; primarily Diplodia natalensis or Phomopsis citri) after storage, with an average of 65% less decay compared to the control. Though benomyl significantly reduced anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) in two of four tests with substantial (>20%) infection and phosphorous acid significantly reduced it once, thiophanate-methyl did not significantly reduce the incidence of anthracnose postharvest. The data suggests that preharvest application of thiophanate-methyl may reduce postharvest SER and total decay similar to preharvest benomyl treatments.

Contributor Notes

To whom reprints should be requested; e-mail: mritenour@ifas.ufl.edu.
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