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Title: Preharvest peroxyacetic acid sprays slow decay and extend shelf-life of strawberries

item Narciso, Jan
item Baldwin, Elizabeth - Liz
item Plotto, Anne
item Ference, Christopher

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2007
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Citation: Narciso, J.A., Baldwin, E.A., Plotto, A., Ference, C.M. 2007. Preharvest peroxyacetic acid sprays slow decay and extend shelf-life of strawberries. HortScience. 42(3):617-621.

Interpretive Summary: Strawberries are a very perishable fruit with significant postharvest decay and short shelf life. Postharvest handling of the fruit usually leads to increased injury and subsequent decay, therefore, strawberries are harvested and packed right from the field. Any treatment to reduce strawberry decay would be most compatible with current harvest and handling practice if done in the field. In this study preharvest spraying of strawberries with the sanitizer peroxyaceticacid (hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid) resulted in reduced postharvest decay and extension of shelf life. This sanitizer is soon to be approved for the organic market and is a good alternative to fungicides.

Technical Abstract: Strawberry is the most important berry crop in Florida. Yearly losses can be attributed to pre and postharvest decay caused by Botrytis cinerea P. Micheli ex Pers., and postharvest decay due primarily to Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehrenb. ex Fr.) Vuillemin. In this study the sanitizer peroxyacetic acid (100 mL/L) was sprayed on the flowers and developing berries 1, 2 and 3 days preharvest. Those berries sprayed 3 days prior to harvest had significantly less decay than berries that were sprayed 1 day preharvest or not sprayed when stored at 18 °C. Berries sprayed in the field with peroxyacetic acid and then coated postharvest with a 1% chitosan coating, had reduced decay compared to berries only treated preharvest with PAA for up to 12 days in storage. Sensitivity of Botrytis hyphae and conidia to PAA was shown by the presence of a zone of inhibition, using the disc assay method.