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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Food Quality Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376705

Research Project: Development of Novel Tools to Manage Fungal Plant Pathogens that Cause Postharvest Decay of Pome Fruit to Reduce Food Waste

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Title: Penicillium expansum: biology, omics, and management tools for a global postharvest pathogen causing blue mold of pome fruit

item LUCIANO-ROSARIO, DIANIRIS - University Of Wisconsin
item KELLER, NANCY - University Of Wisconsin
item Jurick, Wayne

Submitted to: Molecular Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/17/2020
Publication Date: 9/12/2020
Citation: Luciano-Rosario, D., Keller, N.P., Jurick II, W.M. 2020. Penicillium expansum: biology, omics, and management tools for a global postharvest pathogen causing blue mold of pome fruit. Molecular Plant Pathology. 21:1391–1404.

Interpretive Summary: Blue mold, caused primarily by Penicillium expansum, is a major threat to the global pome fruit industry, causing multi-million-dollar losses, annually. The blue mold fungus negatively affects fruit quality, thereby reducing fresh fruit consumption, and significantly contributes to food loss. P. expansum also produces an array of mycotoxins that are detrimental to human health. Management options are limited and the emergence of fungicide-resistant Penicillium spp. make disease management difficult. Therefore, new approaches and tools are needed to combat blue mold in storage. This pathogen profile comprises a comprehensive synthesis of new technological breakthroughs focusing on fungal biology, mechanisms of disease, control, genomics, and the newest developments toward postharvest blue mold disease management.

Technical Abstract: Apples and processed apple products are worldwide foods consumed by young and old alike and have a farm-gate value of approximately $5 billion dollars with downstream revenues of $15 billion annually. Postharvest apple diseases (e.g. blue mold) presents a significant obstacle to safe access to these foods. Blue mold caused by Penicillium expansum and other Penicillium spp. is one of the most common global and economically important postharvest fruit rot diseases. Conservative estimates of blue mold incidence in the U.S. range from 1-5% on fungicide-treated fruit. Hence, loses due to blue mold can be estimated to result in 50-250 million dollars each year. Penicillium spp. produce carcinogenic mycotoxins that pose risks to human health when blue mold infected fruit are used to make processed products (e.g. juice, sauce, pie filling, fruit butters). Four postharvest fungicides are currently registered for disease management; however, fungicide-resistant populations of this pathogen have emerged, thus greatly reducing their efficacy. Further complicating this problem is the lack of host-based blue mold resistance in commercial apple cultivars. Therefore, innovative approaches are needed to develop new methods to manage this disease. With the advent of the genomic sequence of this pathogen, fundamental research has identified genes and pathways that may lead to mitigation strategies for blue mold decay during storage.