Submitted to: Congress of European Microbiology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 16, 2003
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
Citation: Janisiewicz, W.J. 2003. Advantages and limitations of postharvest biological control: toward the next generation products. Congress of European Microbiology. 1st FEMS Congress of European Microbiologists, Slovenia June 29-July 3, 2003. Book of Abstracts p. 99. Technical Abstract: Most of the postharvest decay on pome fruits results from infection through wounds made during harvest and postharvest handling. Synthetic fungicides have been, by far, the most widely used remedy against this decay. However, their use has been increasingly curtailed by the perceived hazard to humans and the environment. Recently, biological control of postharvest diseases (BCPD) with antagonistic bacteria and yeasts, that naturally occur on fruits, has emerged as the most effective alternative to fungicides. The first commercial products have been registered for use in the United States, and the fruit industry has accepted this control method. The major advantages of BCPD are: controlled and stable environmental conditions in storage rooms, which favors antagonist survival; ability to apply antagonists directly to targeted area (fruit); ease in manipulation of the postharvest system; and exemption from tolerance of the registered antagonists. The major limitations are: limited spectrum of activity and efficacy under some environmental conditions; specificity against various diseases or fruits; and lack of eradicative activity. Those limitations are addressed by developing antagonist mixtures with superior biocontrol potential to individual antagonists, improving an antagonist's biocontrol potential through physiological and genetic manipulation, combining antagonists with non-fungicidal methods such as heat treatment, calcium infiltration, cultural methods, and antimicrobial substances that are generally regarded as safe. Knowing the mechanism of biocontrol would be very helpful in enhancing biocontrol, but so far this approach has not been realized. Expansion of research and the related successes creates an optimistic picture for the future of BCPD of fruits.