The Effect of Ethanol Dip and Modified Atmosphere on Prevention of Botrytis Rot of Table Grapes

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Postharvest Science, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, POB 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel.

Grape (Vitis vinifera) storage requires stringent control of gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea. The commercial practice is dependent on sulfur dioxide (SO2) as a fumigant, which is applied by various means with well-known advantages and disadvantages. Many alternative technologies were developed over the years, most of them with limited efficacy or applicability. Modified atmosphere of table grapes suffers from a narrow threshold between control of gray mold and damage to the berries and stems due to high level of carbon dioxide (CO2) within the film-enclosed package. We demonstrated in the past that dipping table grapes in ethanol after harvest has a very pronounced effect on prevention of decay. However, ethanol does not leave a protective residue within the grapes, so it is not expected to prevent latent infections from developing decay nests during prolonged storage. However, if grapes of cultivar Superior were treated with ethanol and then subjected to a modified atmosphere using plastic films (Xtend), we achieved an additive effect and observed persistent control of gray mold without injury to the grapes. The advantage of this plastic film was mainly in its water conductance, which prevented accumulation of free water that is often the limiting factor in modified atmosphere packaging. This combination results in greater decay control, which is a prerequisite for commercial applicability. If undesired aftertaste did develop within the fruit due to the modified atmosphere, 1 day of exposure to ambient air was sufficient to dissipate it.

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To whom reprint requests should be addressed; e-mail: slurie43@volcani.agri.gov.il; fax 972-3-9683-622.
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