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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Food Quality Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378808

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: The good, the bad and the ugly: mycotoxin production during postharvest decay and their influence on tritrophic host-pathogen-microbe interactions

item BARTHOLOMEW, HOLLY - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item BRADSHAW, MICHAEL - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item Fonseca, Jorge
item Jurick, Wayne

Submitted to: Frontiers in Microbiology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2021
Publication Date: 2/12/2021
Citation: Bartholomew, H.P., Bradshaw, M., Fonseca, J.M., Jurick II, W.M. 2021. The good, the bad and the ugly: mycotoxin production during postharvest decay and their influence on tritrophic host-pathogen-microbe interactions. Frontiers in Microbiology. 12:1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins are commonly found in stored fruit and vegetables and contribute to reductions in product quality that also incite food waste and loss. Many mycotoxins are harmful to human and animal health and the fungi that produce these compounds have an intricate relationship with the fruit. However, they represent only a portion of the impact on the microbes (both good and bad) that inhabit the fruit surface. As conventional methods of decay control (e.g. fungicides) are being reduced, alternatives are being sought after in the form of biocontrol agents. Thus, improvements can be made to maintain fruit quality during storage and simultaneously reduce mycotoxin contamination. The current treatise illuminates the different influences within the fruit-microbe system and ways in which improvements toward produce health and safety can be implemented using beneficial fruit-derived microbes.

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins are a prevalent problem for stored fruits, grains, and vegetables. Alternariol, aflatoxin, and patulin, produced by Alternaria sp., Aspergillus sp., and Penicillium sp., respectively, are the major mycotoxins that are harmful to humans and animals which reduce produce quality. Control strategies for these toxins are varied, but one method that is increasing in interest is by manipulating the host microbiome, mirroring a biocontrol approach. While the mycotoxins and the fungi that produce them interact with the host, there are also many other impacts occurring when considering the host microbiome. These interactions involve the mycotoxins themselves, but also the vast array of other compounds such as signaling molecules, plant defense and growth hormones, and metabolites. Therefore, studies to understand the efficacy of various toxins against these beneficial and harmful microorganisms is warranted. Additionally, exploring the carposphere composition of host plants is likely to shed light on developing a microbial consortium to increase nutritional product profiles, maintain quality during storage and abate mycotoxin contamination.