Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2011
Citation: Wisniewski, M.E., Droby, S., Macarisin, D. 2011. Challenges and opportunities for the commercialization of postharvest biocontrol. Acta Horticulturae. 877:1577-1582. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The past twenty years has seen the field of postharvest biocontrol evolve into a sophisticated science with global research programs worldwide, numerous yearly publications, patented technologies, and the development of new commercial products. The use of these products, however, still remains limited. The practical application of postharvest biocontrol has changed from a very classical view of using one organism to control another organism to a broader, more integrated approach where antagonists are combined with natural products, physical treatments, and used with both a pre- and postharvest application. These integrated approaches offer the potential of helping to overcome problems related to the performance of postharvest biocontrol agents and are generally used to increase reliability and efficacy. These integrated approaches, however, need to be standardized if they are to be readily adopted by industry. Continued research is needed on many aspects of the science and technology of postharvest biocontrol in order to integrate biocontrol agents into a combined pre- and postharvest production and handling system. The tools of molecular biology, such as genome sequences, microarrays, and genetic transformation, now provide the ability to develop a better understanding of the mode of action of postharvest biocontrol agents as part of a tritrophic interaction between the host, antagonist, and pathogen. From an industrial viewpoint, knowledge regarding the short and long term effects of fermentation and packaging technologies on efficacy is still very rudimentary. These topics are reviewed with the objective of highlighting the barriers that need to be overcome for the widespread commercialization of postharvest biocontrol agents.