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Combinations of treatments to replace the use of conventional fungicides for the commercial control of postharvest diseases of citrus fruit

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Purpose of review: This review concentrates on promising developments for the control of postharvest diseases of citrus fruit using combinations of non-conventional treatments that include generally regarded as safe compounds (GRAS)/food additives, microbial antagonists, and natural compounds to replace conventional fungicides. Emphasis is also given to research that has the greatest potential for commercial adoption. The efficiency of these treatments is discussed.

Findings: Recently, interest worldwide has increased in reducing the use of certain fungicides previously used for control of postharvest diseases of horticultural crops. However, many non-conventional treatments used in isolation cannot provide the degree of efficacy required for commercial treatment of citrus fruit. Research on citrus postharvest disease control using alternative treatments has focussed on the use of non-conventional alternatives along with other integrated treatments with conventional fungicides. Combinations of treatments, either as a mix of non-conventional and fungicide treatments or as amendments to current commercial practices, have the most potential for commercial adoption.

Directions for future research: Although laboratory research has identified promising alternatives, further research into new applications in commercial settings is needed. Managers of citrus packinghouses that use conventional fungicides need assurances that using non-conventional treatments either as combined new treatments or as amendments to current practices will be effective and not be detrimental to fruit quality. Further investigation should also include newer “reduced risk” or less environmentally toxic fungicides. More research is also needed on the effect of combined treatments on Geotrichum citri-aurantii.
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Document Type: Research Article

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