Postharvest decay of figs (Ficus carica Linnaeus) in the Western Cape of South Africa
Over 60 different fungal species potentially causing diseases on figs (Ficus carica Lin.) are known to occur in South Africa, but only seven species have previously been reported to cause postharvest decay of figs in South Africa. The aim of the study was to identify fungal pathogens causing postharvest decay of fresh figs from an orchard in the Western Cape. After harvest in February 2021, approximately 100 untreated figs were stored at regular atmosphere for 3 weeks at 4°C (±2°C). Fungal isolates from symptomatic fruit (n=30) were identified using morphological and molecular methods. The majority of samples comprised species of the genus Alternaria or Penicillium, followed by Rhizopus sp. These species are often treated as secondary disease causal organisms since they are also opportunistic wound colonisers and possibly also outgrow any other fungal species that do not grow as fervently in vitro. Thus, a pathogenicity test was conducted to evaluate the severity of fruit infections induced by the fungal isolates, confirming that all but one tested isolate were highly pathogenic.
Flint, F., Venter, E., Meitz-Hopkins, J.C. and Lennox, C.L. (2022). Postharvest decay of figs (Ficus carica Linnaeus) in the Western Cape of South Africa. Acta Hortic. 1349, 183-188
Alternaria alternata, figs postharvest decay, identification, pathogenicity