Evaluation of integrated control of postharvest grey mould and blue mould of pome fruit using yeast, potassium silicate and hot water treatments.
The public concern over synthetic pesticides in foods and the environment has created an interest to find effective and safe non-fungicide means of controlling postharvest pathogens. The overall objective of this thesis was to evaluate the effect of potassium silicate, yeast antagonists and hot water dip treatment to control postharvest grey mould and blue mould of pome fruits, caused by Botrytis cinerea and Penicillium expansum, respectively. Botrytis cinerea and Penicillium expansum were isolated from infected strawberry and pear fruits, respectively. These isolates were found to be non-resistant to YieldPlus® (Anchor yeast, Cape Town, South Africa), a biofungicide containing a yeast Cryptococcus albidus. A total of 100 epiphytic yeast isolates were obtained from the fruit surface of “Golden Delicious” apples and “Packham’s Triumph” pears, and screened against B. cinerea and P. expansum. Fifteen yeast isolates reduced grey mould incidence by > 50%, when applied four hours before inoculation with B. cinerea. Similarly, seven yeast isolates reduced blue mould incidence by > 50%, when applied four hours before inoculation with P. expansum. YieldPlus® and yeast Isolate YP25 provided the best control of B. cinerea, while Isolate YP60 and YieldPlus® provided the best control of P. expansum on “Golden Delicious” apples. A mixture of YP25 and YP60 provided complete control of both B. cinerea and P. expansum, when applied to “Golden Delicious” apples before inoculation with either B. cinerea or P. expansum. Electron microscopy studies showed that yeast Isolates YP25 and YP60 inhibited the mycelial growth of B. cinerea and P. expansum, respectively. Preventative and curative application of potassium silicate resulted in reduced incidence of B. cinerea or P. expansum of “Golden Delicious” apples. Electron microscopy studies indicated that potassium silicate inhibited the growth of B. cinerea and P. expansum. Furthermore, treatment of “Golden Delicious” apples with either potassium chloride or potassium hydroxide resulted in reduced incidence of both B. cinerea and P. expansum. In vivo tests showed that the disease incidence of P. expansum and B. cinerea on “Golden Delicious” apples was reduced by hot water dip treatments at 58-60°C for 60 to 120 seconds, compared with the control fruit treated with sterile distilled water, without causing skin damage. The use of potassium silicate, yeasts (Isolates YP25 and YP60), YieldPlus® and the antagonists mixture (YP25+YP60) in combination, resulted in the control of B. cinerea and P. expansum of “Golden Delicious” apples compared with Imazalil® treated fruit.