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Article

Effect of Washing, Waxing and Low-Temperature Storage on the Postharvest Microbiome of Apple

1
Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, Petersgasse 12, 8010 Graz, Austria
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Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, University of Stockholm, Svante Arrhenius väg 20A, 11418 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 220 Ag Quad Ln, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 501 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740, USA
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Chongqing Key Laboratory of Economic Plant Biotechnology, College of Landscape Architecture and Life Sciences, Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, Yongchuan, Chongqing 402160, China
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U.S. Department of Agriculture—Agricultural Research Service, 2217 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430, USA
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Institute of Plant Sciences, Newe Ya’ar Research Center, The Agricultural Research Organization, Ramat Yishay 30095, Israel
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Department of Postharvest Science, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion 7505101, Israel
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(6), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060944
Received: 24 May 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 19 June 2020 / Published: 23 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applying Metaorganism Studies to the Fruit Microbiome: A New Frontier)
There is growing recognition of the role that the microbiome plays in the health and physiology of many plant species. However, considerably less research has been conducted on the postharvest microbiome of produce and the impact that postharvest processing may have on its composition. Here, amplicon sequencing was used to study the effect of washing, waxing, and low-temperature storage at 2 °C for six months on the bacterial and fungal communities of apple calyx-end, stem-end, and peel tissues. The results of the present work reveal that tissue-type is the main factor defining fungal and bacterial diversity and community composition on apple fruit. Both postharvest treatments and low temperature storage had a strong impact on the fungal and bacterial diversity and community composition of these tissue types. Distinct spatial and temporal changes in the composition and diversity of the microbiota were observed in response to various postharvest management practices. The greatest impact was attributed to sanitation practices with major differences among unwashed, washed and washed-waxed apples. The magnitude of the differences, however, was tissue-specific, with the greatest impact occurring on peel tissues. Temporally, the largest shift occurred during the first two months of low-temperature storage, although fungi were more affected by storage time than bacteria. In general, fungi and bacteria were impacted equally by sanitation practices, especially the epiphytic microflora of peel tissues. This research provides a foundation for understanding the impact of postharvest management practices on the microbiome of apple and its potential subsequent effects on postharvest disease management and food safety. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbial composition; foodborne pathogens; postharvest management; fruit microbiome; microbiota; carposphere; Malus domestica; Empire apples; plant microbiota microbial composition; foodborne pathogens; postharvest management; fruit microbiome; microbiota; carposphere; Malus domestica; Empire apples; plant microbiota
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MDPI and ACS Style

Abdelfattah, A.; Whitehead, S.R.; Macarisin, D.; Liu, J.; Burchard, E.; Freilich, S.; Dardick, C.; Droby, S.; Wisniewski, M. Effect of Washing, Waxing and Low-Temperature Storage on the Postharvest Microbiome of Apple. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 944. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060944

AMA Style

Abdelfattah A, Whitehead SR, Macarisin D, Liu J, Burchard E, Freilich S, Dardick C, Droby S, Wisniewski M. Effect of Washing, Waxing and Low-Temperature Storage on the Postharvest Microbiome of Apple. Microorganisms. 2020; 8(6):944. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060944

Chicago/Turabian Style

Abdelfattah, Ahmed, Susan R. Whitehead, Dumitru Macarisin, Jia Liu, Erik Burchard, Shiri Freilich, Christopher Dardick, Samir Droby, and Michael Wisniewski. 2020. "Effect of Washing, Waxing and Low-Temperature Storage on the Postharvest Microbiome of Apple" Microorganisms 8, no. 6: 944. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060944

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