Submitted to: Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Apples
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2016
Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Citation: Janisiewicz, W.J., Jurick II, W.M. 2017. Sustainable approaches to control postharvest diseases of apples. In: Evans, K., editor. Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Apples. Cambridge, UK: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. p. 307-336
Technical Abstract: Long term storage of apples faces challenges in maintaining fruit quality and reducing losses from postharvest diseases. Currently, the apple industry relies mainly on synthetic fungicides to control postharvest decays. However, the limitations to fungicides such as the development of resistance in pathogens, difficulties in developing new fungicides, and their effect on the environment make this practice not sustainable. In addition, growing consumer demand for fungicide-free produce and a rapidly expanding organic market necessitate development of more sustainable alternatives to synthetic fungicides. In this book chapter, we examine various approaches developed for controlling postharvest decays of apples since the introduction of long term storage almost a hundred years ago. They include physical, chemical, and biological treatments. The physical treatments include storing apples at low temperatures and in a controlled atmosphere, irradiation of apples with UV-C, and treatments of apples with hot air or hot water dips. The chemical treatments include application of substances generally regarded as safe and various plant products such as essential oils, plant extracts, and natural volatiles. The biological approaches includes application of microbial biocontrol agents, induction of natural resistance in fruit, and exploring natural resistance discovered in wild apples in breeding programs. None of the alternative methods have a spectrum of activity as broad as synthetic fungicides; however, when integrated, they can provide commercially adequate decay control.