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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Commodity Protection and Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #295448

Research Project: Maintaining Quality and Extending Shelf and Shipping Life of Fresh Fruit with No or Minimal Synthetic Pesticide Inputs

Location: Commodity Protection and Quality Research

Title: Performance of fogged disinfectants to inactivate conida of Penicillium digitatum within citrus degreening rooms

item Smilanick, Joseph
item Mansour, Monir
item Sorenson, David

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/31/2013
Publication Date: 5/1/2014
Citation: Smilanick, J.L., Mansour, M., Sorenson, D. 2014. Performance of fogged disinfectants to inactivate conida of Penicillium digitatum within citrus degreening rooms. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 91:134-140.

Interpretive Summary: Citrus fruit often rot after harvest unless actions are undertaken to control the fungi responsible for these losses, so an important action is to sanitize or disinfect the packing houses to kill fungal spores where the fruit are washed, sized, and packaged. Formaldehyde was used for this purpose, but replacements perceived as safer to workers and the public are needed. We found four other effective compounds that can effectively replace formaldehyde: glutaraldehyde; hydrogen peroxide; acetic acid; and Citrisol, a proprietary mineral oxychloride oxidizer.

Technical Abstract: Fogging with formaldehyde of citrus packinghouses when the fruit are absent is a practice to control conidia of Penicillium digitatum (Pers.) Sacc., cause of citrus green mold. Replacements for formaldehyde in these facilities are needed because of worker and environmental health issues. To evaluate the effectiveness of candidate sanitizers, craft wood sticks with conidia of P. digitatum were attached throughout commercial citrus ethylene degreening rooms and either water alone or the sanitizers were applied. The rooms were 20 ±2 C and humidified to 85 to 90% relative humidity. Aldehydes, peroxygen compounds, sodium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, quaternary ammonium, alcohols, one phenolic compound, and one organic acid were applied with a compressed air assisted atomizer or fan atomizer in a volume of approximately 6 L per 100 m3 of room volume dispensed over a 3 h period. Rates applied were expressed as active ingredient per m3 of room volume. All were compared to formaldehyde applied at 1.98 g m-3 of room volume. After 24 h, the craft wood sticks were retrieved, and germination of the conidia assessed. Five sanitizers reduced germination of conidia by more than 95% and equaled formaldehyde in effectiveness. They were (effective rates): 1) glutaraldehyde (0.1 g m-3); 2) hydrogen peroxide (4.4 g m-3); 3) Citrisol (1.0 g m-3), a proprietary mineral oxychloride oxidizer; 4) acetic acid (5.3 g m-3); and peracetic acid (2.4 g m-3). The toxicity of effective sanitizers was determined by exposure of P. digitatum conidia for 10 min to concentrations of each and the proportion of survivors used to estimate EC50 and EC99 concentrations. The toxicity of the sanitizers in this assay did not predict their effectiveness when applied by fogging, probably because other factors, such as distribution, persistence, droplet size, or vapor pressure also influenced their effectiveness.