Submitted to: Annual Review of Phytopathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: April 23, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In the United States, postharvest fruit diseases cause significant losses, ranging from 1 to 20 percent, depending on the commodity. Fungicides have been applied to fruits after harvest to reduce the amount of decay, but use of fungicides has been increasingly curtailed by the development of pathogens resistant to many key fungicides, the lack of replacement fungicides, and public perception that pesticides are harmful to human health and the environment, which resulted in governmental polices restricting fungicide use. During the past fifteen years, biological control of postharvest diseases (BCPD) has emerged as an effective alternative. This progress can be attributed to a uniqueness of the postharvest system, where the wound invading necrotrophic pathogens are vulnerable to biocontrol, antagonists could be applied directly to the targeted area (fruit wounds), and a single application using existing delivery systems (drenches, line sprayers, on line dips) can significantly reduce fruit decays. Many effective antagonists are natural inhabitants of healthy fruits, making them safe for human consumption. The pioneering biocontrol products, BioSave and Aspire, were registered in 1995 by the EPA, and are commercially available. BioSave use has been increasing steadily in the past five years. These biocontrol products have some limitations, however, and can not be used in all circumstances. These limitations may be addressed by enhancing biocontrol through manipulation of the environment, using mixtures of beneficial organisms, physiological and genetic enhancement of the biocontrol mechanisms, manipulation of formulations, and integrating biocontrol with other alternative methods, which in combination with biocontrol provide a synergistic effect.