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Effects of Potassium Sorbate on Postharvest Brown Rot of Stone Fruit

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The effect of potassium sorbate (K-sorb), a low-toxicity chemical, to control Monilinia spp. was investigated. Preliminary in vitro studies found the MIC of K-sorb for conidial germination and mycelial growth was, respectively, 260 and 1,250 mg/liter. Immersion of naturally infected peach and nectarine fruit in a solution (15 g/liter) of K-sorb for 120 s reduced brown rot by over 80% in four of five trials. Although treated fruits showed a significant reduction in firmness with respect to the control, they did not reach the overripe stage and retained acceptable quality parameters. In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of action for K-sorb, the inhibition of enzymatic activity by K-sorb was also tested. In a radial diffusion assay, the addition of K-sorb to agarose reduced polygalacturonase (PG) activity across the concentrations considered. The greatest reduction (54.3%, with respect to the control) was obtained at a sorbate concentration of 15 g/liter. PG kinetic activity of Monilinia laxa observed by a spectrophotometric assay peaked after 40 min in all samples tested. PG activity was significantly higher in the control than in the samples with increased K-sorb concentrations. In conclusion, based on these findings, K-sorb can be recommended as a low-toxicity antifungal compound against Monilinia spp. in peaches and nectarines with its mode of action probably depending in part on the inhibition of PG activity in M. laxa.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centro per la Protezione e Conservazione dei Prodotti Ortofrutticoli, University of Bologna, Via Gandolfi 19, 40057 Cadriano, Bologna, Italy

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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