Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/10/2011
Publication Date: 8/31/2011
Citation: Wilson, C.L., Wisniewski, M.E., Droby, S., Chalutz, E. 2011. Historical perspective on biological control of postharvest diseases – past, present, and future. Acta Horticulturae 905:23-28. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The birth of the field of biological control of postharvest diseases can be traced back to 1984 when a researcher testing an antagonist (Bacillus subtilis) in the field to control brown rot of peaches (caused by Monilinia fructicola ) decided to apply the antagonist directly to the peach to control brown rot. It became apparent from this simple experiment that biological control of postharvest diseases had great potential. A number of “biofungicides” have been subsequently commercialized. The first ones of these registered in the United States by EPA were Aspire, based on the antagonistic yeast Candida oleophila, and Biosave, based on the antagonistic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae. “Shemer”, based on the antagonistic yeast Metschnikowia fructicola, was registered in Israel and has recently been licensed by Bayer CropScience for development worldwide. Other products have been developed in South Africa and Spain, and additional products are on the market or in the pipeline worldwide. The field of microecology of epiphytes has made tremendous advances in the past several years. Discoveries in this area may provide new tools and approaches for the manipulation of epiphytes on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables to favor biocontrol. Advances in genomic and proteomic technologies are allowing the precise identification of epiphytes on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables without having to culture them. The newly evolving field of synthetic biology awaits us down the line. As we gain a more in depth understanding of our biocontrol systems, we should be able to synthesize them in the laboratory. Since the limited paradigm for the biological control of postharvest diseases has been expanded, new avenues are open for developing effective biocontrol systems that can rival present synthetic fungicides. The future looks bright.