Submitted to: Agriculture Handbook
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/4/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Losses caused by postharvest diseases are greater than is often realized because the value of fresh fruits and vegetables increases several fold while moving from the field to the consumer. Postharvest diseases affect a wide variety of crops and these diseases are especially severe in developing countries which lack sophisticated storage facilities. Infection by fungi and bacteria can occur during the growing season, at harvest, during handling, storage, transport and marketing, or even after purchase by the consumer. The reduction in losses of perishable food crops due to postharvest diseases has become a major objective internationally. While chemical control has been used successfully for many years to reduce postharvest losses, many former fungicides that were used are no longer permitted because of concerns with residues and their possible association with human maladies. Other products have been lost as effective controls due to development of resistance by the target pathogen. Therefore, postharvest pathology has changed its emphasis in recent years. Continued failure to effectively control certain postharvest diseases is driving a new approach to disease control. Integrated postharvest decay control is the concept that offers the most promise for the future. We can not longer rely on one or two control strategies but must use the entire spectrum of strategies to reduce postharvest losses.