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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325735

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING FRUIT DECAY

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Title: The science, development, and commercialization of postharvest biocontrol products

Author
item Droby, Samir - VOLCANI CENTER (ARO)
item Wisniewski, Michael
item Teixido, Neus - INSTITUTE OF AGRIFOOD RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY
item Spadaro, Davide - UNIVERSITY OF TORINO
item Jijakli, Haissam - UNIVERSITY OF LEUVEN

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2016
Publication Date: 4/18/2016
Citation: Droby, S., Wisniewski, M.E., Teixido, N., Spadaro, D., Jijakli, H. 2016. The science, development, and commercialization of postharvest biocontrol products. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 122:22-29.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Postharvest biological control agents as a viable alternative to the use of synthetic chemicals have been the focus of considerable research for the last 30 years by many scientists and several commercial companies worldwide. Several antagonists of postharvest pathogens have been identified and tested in laboratory, semi-commercial and commercial settings, and were developed into commercial products. The discovery and development of these antagonists into a product followed a paradigm in which a single antagonist isolated from one commodity was also expected to be effective on other commodities that vary in their genetic background, physiology, postharvest handling, and susceptibility to pathogens. In most cases, product development was successfully achieved but full commercial potential was not realized. The low success rate of postharvest biocontrol products has been attributed to several problems, including difficulties in mass production and formulation of the antagonist, the physiological status of the harvested commodity, and its susceptibility to specific pathogens. All these factors played a major role in the reduced and inconsistent performance of the biocontrol product when used under commercial conditions. Although many studies have been conducted on the mode of action of postharvest microbial antagonists, our understanding is still very incomplete. In this regard, a systems approach that takes into account all the components of the biocontrol system may represent the best approach to investigating the network of interactions that exist. Very little is known about the overall diversity and composition of microbial communities on harvested produce and how these communities vary across produce types, their function, the factors that influence the composition of the microbiota after harvest and during storage, and the distribution of individual taxa. In light of the progress made in recent years in metagenomic technologies, this technology should be used to characterize the composition of microbial communities on fruits and vegetables. Information on the dynamics and diversity of microbiota may be useful to developing a new paradigm in postharvest biocontrol that is based on constructing synthetic microbial communities that provide superior control of pathogens.