Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 2, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
The field of postharvest biocontrol has developed rapidly over the past ten years and several products for citrus, pome, and stone fruit are either now available or in the latter stages of development. Among these are Aspire (Ecogen), BioSave (EcoScience), YieldPlus (Anchor Yeast), and bioactive coatings (microbial antagonists combined with unique formulations of chitosan). An additional, yeast-based product, developed in Spain, is awaiting registration clearance in Europe and will also soon be commercially available. While penetrating a marketplace that is dominated by inexpensive and effective synthetic fungicides is a daunting task, the use of biocontrol agents is slowly gaining acceptance and their use as a viable commercial practice is being demonstrated. Statistics on the use of these products will be presented. Current research is aimed at extending the range of conditions (e.g., high-inoculum density, varying levels of fruit maturity, etc.) in which postharvest biocontrol agents will effectively prevent disease. In particular, there is a need to establish a degree of curative activity (i.e., the ability to control pre-existing infections). Approaches to improvement include: the use of additives such as calcium, chitosan, EDTA, sodium bicarbonate, etc.; the use of combinations of antagonists; the selection of specific strains for specific cultivars and/or diseases, and; the genetic enhancement of biocontrol agents by over expression of lytic enzymes such as chitinase and glucanase. Advances in these lines of research and general issues regarding commercialization of postharvest biocontrol products will be discussed.