Postharvest Biology of Fruit
Project Number 12206 Starting 10/01/2003 Ending 09/30/2008
OBJECTIVES: To develop sustainable controls for physiological disorders, diseases and pests. APPROACH: Research will be conducted to examine the efficacy of biological controls, biorational control materials, and/or standard commercial fungicides for management of tree fruit diseases that are problematic during the postharvest period. Environmental modifications, such as changes in the abiotic storage conditions (e.g., temperature, moisture), application technology for control products, fruit handling methods, and/or use of surface sterilants may also be examined. Tests will be conducted using standard experimental designs incorporating replication and analyzed using appropriate statistical procedures to allow comparison of treatments, standards, and controls. Effective disease control programs, which may consist of individual measures or an integration of several approaches, will be disseminated to commercial tree fruit growers via normal extension channels, such as meeting presentations and/or newsletters. Adoption of such technology should result in significant reductions in yield loss, which can be evaluated via postharvest disease assessments.
Significant postharvest yield loss of tree fruit crops can occur from infections by plant pathogenic microorganisms. Such infections, typically caused by fungal pathogens, can occur late in the ripening phase while fruit are still in the orchard, during packing and shipping, or while the fruit are in storage. In some cases, infection may occur much earlier in the season but remain latent until after harvest. Experiments will be conducted to determine the efficacy of a variety of control measures, such as biological control agents, biorational control products, novel chemical controls, and modification of environmental conditions during storage. Effective disease control programs, which may consist of individual measures or an integration of several approaches, will reduce yield loss with minimal economic costs, thereby improving grower profitability. Furthermore, integration of effective biological and/or other non-chemical control measures in the overall postharvest disease control program will aid in reducing the potential for pesticide residues on fruit.