Objective 1: Develop new preharvest approaches to enhance fruit quality and reduce postharvest diseases. • Sub-objective 1A: Evaluate the effects of anti-transpiration agents on water loss and fruit quality of blueberries. • Sub-objective 1B: Evaluate the effects of preharvest applications of plant disease-resistance elicitors on fruit quality and control of postharvest diseases of blueberries. Objective 2: Develop new postharvest technologies to maintain fruit quality and control postharvest diseases. • Sub-objective 2A: Evaluate generally-recognized-as-safe products or food additives applied as a postharvest treatment via different application technologies for control of postharvest fruit rot diseases of blueberries. • Sub-objective 2B: Develop coatings with/without antifungal products for reducing water loss and postharvest fruit rot diseases of blueberries. • Sub-objective 2C: Evaluate generally-recognized-as-safe products or food additives applied as a postharvest treatment via different application technologies for control of postharvest fruit rot diseases of table grapes.
The goal of this project is to develop new pre- and postharvest approaches to maintain postharvest quality and control postharvest fruit rots and thus extend storage and shelf life of fresh fruits. Field and laboratory experiments will be conducted to evaluate preharvest use of disease resistance inducers and anti-transpiration agents to increase blueberry fruit tolerance to postharvest diseases and enhance fruit quality. Fruit quality parameters, postharvest disease development, plant chemicals such as flavonoids and phenolic contents, and the activities of known defensive enzymes in the fruit will be analyzed to determine their relationships. Laboratory and cold storage experiments will be conducted to develop new postharvest approaches using generally-recognized-as-safe substances such as peroxyacetic acid and cold plasma-activated hydrogen peroxide and antimicrobial food additives such as natamycin applied via new postharvest application technologies to control postharvest fruit rots and retain fruit quality of blueberries and table grapes. Laboratory and cold storage experiments will also be conducted to develop coatings with/without antifungal products for reducing water loss and postharvest fruit rot diseases of blueberries.
This project, 2034-43000-041-00D, began in May 2020, and replaces expired project 2034-43000-039-00D, "Integrate Pre- and Postharvest Approaches to Enhance Fresh Fruit Quality and Control Postharvest Diseases." Under Sub-objective 2A, experimentation was initiated to test postharvest treatments with peroxyacetic acid and hydrogen peroxide for control of postharvest rots on blueberries. Both spray and dip applications were tested for peroxyacetic acid. Sachets that release hydrogen peroxide were placed in a storage room to test hydrogen peroxide fumigation on postharvest rots of blueberries. These experiments are still ongoing in cold storage, and results will be forthcoming. Under Sub-objective 2B, experimentation was initiated on evaluating the effects of chitosan/oleic acid and carbohydrate-based coatings applied at harvest on postharvest quality of blueberries. Both spray and dip applications are being compared, using two varieties. These experiments are still in cold storage and results on their effectiveness at maintaining firmness and lessening water loss are not yet available.