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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 #337926

Research Project: Production Management Research for Berry Crops

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Title: A new approach for strawberry disease control

item Takeda, Fumiomi - Fumi
item Janisiewicz, Wojciech
item Smith, Barbara

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2017
Publication Date: 9/1/2017
Citation: Takeda, F., Janisiewicz, W.J., Smith, B.J. 2017. A new approach for strawberry disease control. International Strawberry Congress. p. 40-43.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Strawberry is grown around the world in different production systems and diverse environmental conditions, which creates challenges in controlling fruit-rot causing pathogens before and after harvest. Fungicides have been traditionally used to control these diseases, and in some areas, as many as 25 fungicide applications are necessary during the growing season. Because of increasing regulations on their usage, lower maximum residue level, market demand for pesticide-free fruit, and the development of resistance to fungicides in major pathogens, novel control strategies are needed for increased sustainable production and supply of strawberries to consumers. Despite positive attitudes toward using biocontrol agents in strawberry production, their use in strawberry production is rare and has not been as effective as conventional fungicides. UV-C has been used to kill microorganisms in hospitals and water treatment process, and to some extent, in agriculture and food industry to control decay and foodborne pathogens. However, the doses of UV-C (254 nm) irradiation required to reduce most of the microbial populations on the strawberry caused tissue softening and discoloration of sepals. Here we report on the strong killing power of the UV-C treatment against Botrytis cinerea, Podosphaera aphanis, and Colletotrichum spp. Our treatment protocol combined UV-C irradiation (12 mJ/cm2 at 4-day intervals) with a specific dark period immediately after irradiation. The dark period most likely prevented activation of the light-induced DNA repair mechanism and greatly increased the lethality of the UV-C. This unique approach allowed for a substantial reduction of the UV-C effective dose to kill the microorganisms on leaves and fruit. With this UV-C dosage, pollen germination, pollen tube growth, fruit set, fruit quality, and photosynthetic activity were not adversely impacted. Future studies will include night-time UV-C treatments combined with the application of microbial antagonists with good colonizing ability of strawberry plants to prevent re-colonization of strawberry plants by the pathogens.