M.S. Hashmi, A.R. East, J.S. Palmer , J.A. Heyes
Postharvest fungal rot contributes significantly to fresh produce losses. Conventionally, fungicides have been used to minimise fruit decay. However, increased concerns over the negative effects of fungicide application motivated a search for alternative options to extend storage life of fresh produce. While temperature control reduces the chance of fungal rot, a physical treatment at a time soon after harvest may further increase storage life. Previous studies have suggested that a postharvest hypobaric treatment is a potential non-chemical method for the control of fungal rots in some fresh produce. In this study the effect of hypobaric treatment (50 kPa.a, 4 h) on the subsequent rot development and quality of blueberries held at 20 and 0°C was assessed. The results obtained show that pre-storage low pressure treatment of blueberries slightly reduced postharvest rot incidence arising from natural infections at 20°C. In addition, firmness and respiration rate of the fruit were not affected by low pressure treatment. The small reduction in rot incidence in hypobaric treated fruit has been ascribed to either direct effect of low oxygen; indirect activation of induced resistance; or removal of free water from the surface of the produce. Should hypobaric treatments be found to be effectual they could eventually facilitate the development of a new cost-effective method of physical treatment to reduce postharvest fungal decay.
Hashmi, M.S., East, A.R., Palmer , J.S. and Heyes, J.A. (2013). HYPOBARIC TREATMENT REDUCES FUNGAL ROTS IN BLUEBERRIES. Acta Hortic. 1012, 609-614
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.1012.82
Vaccinium corymbosum, low-pressure treatment, decay, quality

Acta Horticulturae