Relevance of the main postharvest handling operations on the development of brown rot disease on stone fruits
Bernat Martínez, Maria Dolores
Casals Rosell, Carla
Torres Sanchis, Rosario
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BACKGROUND Brown rot caused by Monilinia spp. is one of the most important postharvest diseases of stone fruit. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relevance of the main postharvest operations of fruit – hydrocooling, cold room, water dump, sorting and cooling tunnel – in the development of M. laxa on peaches and nectarines artificially infected 48, 24 or 2 h before postharvest operations. RESULTS Commercial hydrocooling operation reduced incidence to 10% in ‘Pp 100’ nectarine inoculated 2 and 24 h before this operation; however, in ‘Fantasia’ nectarine incidence was not reduced, although lesion diameter was decreased in all studied varieties. Hydrocooling operation for 10 min and 40 mg L−1 of sodium hypochlorite reduced brown rot incidence by 50–77% in nectarines inoculated 2 h before operation; however, in peach varieties it was not reduced. Water dump operation showed reduction of incidence on nectarine infected 2 h before immersion for 30 s in clean water at 4 °C and 40 mg L−1 sodium hypochlorite; however, in peach varieties it was not reduced. Cold room, sorting and cooling tunnel operation did not reduce brown rot incidence. CONCLUSION From all studied handling operations on stone fruit packing houses, hydrocooling is the most relevant in the development of brown rot disease. Duration of the treatment seems to be more important than chlorine concentration. In addition, hydrocooling and water dump were less relevant in peaches than in nectarines. As a general trend, hydrocooling and water dump reduced incidence on fruit with recent infections (2 or 24 h before operation); however, when infections have been established (48 h before operation) diseases were not reduced.