Special Issue "Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Biotic and Abiotic Stress".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alessandra Di Francesco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin, 42, 40127, Bologna, Italy
Interests: fruit postharvest fungal diseases; antagonists; biological control
Prof. Dr. Gianfranco Romanazzi
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Via Brecce Bianche, 2-8, 60131 Ancona, Italy
Interests: chitosan; essential oils, gray mold; postharvest decay; seedborne pathogens
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Rosario Torres
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRTA, Postharvest Programme, Edifici Fruitcentre, Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari de Lleida, Parc de Gardeny, 25003 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain
Interests: postharvest fungal diseases of fruit; epidemiology; biological control; alternative methods; host-pathogen interaction studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The open access journal Horticulturae (SCIE-indexed; Tracked for IF) is pleased to announce that we have launched a new Special Issue titled “Biological Control of Pre- and Post-Harvest Fungal Diseases”. Given your expertise in this field, we would like to invite you to contribute an article to the present Special Issue.

The appearance of pathogen isolates resistant to common fungicides, followed by stricter regulatory policies that impose a reduction in their use, emphasizes the attempts to introduce effective biological control methods applied in pre- and post-harvest phases. At the beginning of the 1960s, treatments based on chemical fungicides, as the main method of reducing post-harvest fruit losses, obtained satisfactory results. However, the fungicide option for managing post-harvest decay is increasingly limited; in addition, the use of fungicides on fruit after harvest is regulated by different food protection agencies. Alternative biocontrol methods are also necessary, starting from the field, so as to create a connection with the post-harvest phase alternative treatments. Biological control in sensu strictu involves microorganisms known as biocontrol agents (BCAs), which are mainly yeasts, bacteria, and fungi; however, sometimes their activity is inconsistent. Therefore, to overcome this issue, integrated strategies including essential oils (EO), physical treatments, GRAS, chitosan, and, less frequently, fungicides in low doses, could be explored in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. The proposed Special Issue aims to present advanced studies, methods, tools, and innovations in the field of biological control of fungal diseases in pre- and post-harvest phases. We hope to receive your contributions so as to share them with the community of researchers, students, and  technicians that believed in new frontiers for plant protection, as 2020 is the “International year of plant health”. In the hope that this invitation receives your favorable consideration, we look forward to our future collaboration.

Kind regards,

Dr. Alessandra Di Francesco
Prof. Dr. Gianfranco Romanazzi
Dr. Rosario Torres
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biological control
  • fungal diseases
  • antagonists
  • pre- and post-harvest phases
  • fruits
  • horticultural products
  • alternative methods

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Application of Rosemary and Eucalyptus Essential Oils and Their Main Component on the Preservation of Apple and Pear Fruits
Horticulturae 2021, 7(11), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110479 - 09 Nov 2021
Viewed by 222
Abstract
Nowadays, increase fruit losses are being reported due to the development of fungal postharvest diseases. In an attempt to reduce the use of synthetic fungicides, a turn towards natural products such as essential oils (EOs) and natural compounds has been made. The objective [...] Read more.
Nowadays, increase fruit losses are being reported due to the development of fungal postharvest diseases. In an attempt to reduce the use of synthetic fungicides, a turn towards natural products such as essential oils (EOs) and natural compounds has been made. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of eucalyptus (Euc), rosemary (Ros) EO, their mixture (50:50 v/v) and their common main component (i.e., eucalyptol) on the quality parameters, fruit response and inhibition of blue rot (Penicillium expansum) in apple and pear fruits during their shelf life. The results of the present study revealed that fungal colony growth decreased in vitro with exposure at eucalyptus EO (Euc-300 μL/L), rosemary EO (Ros-300 μL/L) and their mixture (Euc + Ros 100 and 300 μL/L). The exposure at Ros-100 μL/L stimulated spore production, whilst Euc + Ros (100 and 300 μL/L) and eucalyptol (100 and 300 μL/L) decreased spore germination. Moreover, the in vivo applied treatments resulted in decreased lesion growth of P. expansum in apple and pear fruits. Respiration rate increased with the application of Euc + Ros at 300 μL/L and eucalyptus EO (Euc-100 μL/L and Euc-300 μL/L) for both assessed fruits. On the other hand, no significant differences were reported on apples and pears total soluble solids and acidity values. The application of Euc + Ros-300 μL/L in apples increased hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) levels, whilst Euc-100 and Euc-300 μL/L increased lipid peroxidation levels. Regarding pear fruits, exposure to Euc-100 μL/L and Ros-100 μL/L resulted in increased H2O2 whereas, Euc-100 μL/L, Ros- (100 and 300 μL/L) and eucalyptol (100 and 300 μL/L) also increased lipid peroxidation. The findings of this study indicate that the investigated natural products can be explored for the preservation of fresh apples and pears, as alternative natural fungicides with consideration of the fresh produce quality attributes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases)
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Article
Control of Penicillium expansum by an Epiphytic Basidiomycetous Yeast
Horticulturae 2021, 7(11), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110473 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Postharvest biocontrol agents are considered a viable alternative to the use of synthetic chemicals as demonstrated by extensive research conducted by scientists and companies worldwide. In the present investigation, the biocontrol potential of a carotenoid-producing basidiomycetous yeast isolated from table grape flowers was [...] Read more.
Postharvest biocontrol agents are considered a viable alternative to the use of synthetic chemicals as demonstrated by extensive research conducted by scientists and companies worldwide. In the present investigation, the biocontrol potential of a carotenoid-producing basidiomycetous yeast isolated from table grape flowers was analyzed. The strain RY1 proved to be Sporobolomyces roseus. In vitro and in vivo tests were conducted to assess its efficacy against Penicillium expansum, one of the most important postharvest pathogens and producer of the mycotoxin patulin. The yeast proved to control both fungal growth and patulin production, and, in addition, to greatly affect disease incidence and severity on apples. Its mode of action is presumably related both to the competition for nutrients and the production of antifungal volatiles. As such, although further large-scale trials are needed, our S. roseus strain represents a potential interesting biocontrol agent to be applied after harvest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases)
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Article
Stability of Dry and Liquid Metschnikowia pulcherrima Formulations for Biocontrol Applications against Apple Postharvest Diseases
Horticulturae 2021, 7(11), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110459 - 03 Nov 2021
Viewed by 255
Abstract
The yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima is frequently isolated from environmental samples and has often been reported to exhibit strong antagonistic activity against plant pathogens. In order to assess the potential of this species for its development into a plant protection product, the survival during [...] Read more.
The yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima is frequently isolated from environmental samples and has often been reported to exhibit strong antagonistic activity against plant pathogens. In order to assess the potential of this species for its development into a plant protection product, the survival during formulation and storage were quantified and field efficacy was assessed over a period of five years. Freeze dried and liquid M. pulcherrima formulations (i.e., with skim milk powder (SMP), sucrose, glycerol, xanthan, without additives) were prepared and the number of viable cells was quantified during storage at different temperatures. Field trials against apple postharvest diseases (Neofabreae) were performed with different dry formulations. M. pulcherrima proved exceptionally stable for many months and even years. Five years of field trials with the yeast revealed variable effects, but reduced Neofabreae infections of stored apples were observed in some years. M. pulcherrima applications after prior fungicide treatments repeatedly showed an additive effect as compared to the fungicide treatments alone. In summary, M. pulcherrima exhibited highly advantageous storage properties and encouraging activity against apple postharvest rots. Further studies to identify the factors responsible for antagonistic activity in the field and survival during storage are expected to lay the foundation for the future development of a plant protection product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases)
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Article
The Dominance of Chitosan Hydrochloride over Modern Natural Agents or Basic Substances in Efficacy against Phytophthora infestans, and Its Safety for the Non-Target Model Species Eisenia fetida
Horticulturae 2021, 7(10), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100366 - 05 Oct 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
Growing pressure to reduce the environmental pesticide burden has the greatest impact on agriculture and crop protection. There is an enormous increase in the demand for research on new, effective, naturally based agents that do not pose an environmental risk. Phytophthora infestans is [...] Read more.
Growing pressure to reduce the environmental pesticide burden has the greatest impact on agriculture and crop protection. There is an enormous increase in the demand for research on new, effective, naturally based agents that do not pose an environmental risk. Phytophthora infestans is one of the most destructive phytopathogens, especially in cases where synthetic fungicides are not allowed. This paper describes the high efficacy and safety of the natural polymer chitosan under in vitro and in vivo conditions and its dominance over other natural agents or products. Chitosan demonstrated the highest efficacy against P. infestans. A concentration of 0.2–0.4% was highly effective. The protective effect of chitosan was 99.3% in natural conditions. Direct activity, equivalent to synthetic fungicides (MIC50 0.293 mg/mL), was confirmed. Chitosan was rated non-toxic to useful non-target species. We promote further chitosan expansion within legislation and implementation of chitosan as a safe substance that could reduce the pesticide burden, particularly in eco-friendly plant protection and production of non-harmful foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases)
Article
Changes in the Fungal Community Assembly of Apple Fruit Following Postharvest Application of the Yeast Biocontrol Agent Metschnikowia fructicola
Horticulturae 2021, 7(10), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100360 - 04 Oct 2021
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Recently, increasing focus has been placed on exploring fruit microbiomes and their association with their hosts. Investigation of the fruit surface microbiome of apple has revealed variations in the composition and structure depending on management practices, phenological stages, and spatial distribution on the [...] Read more.
Recently, increasing focus has been placed on exploring fruit microbiomes and their association with their hosts. Investigation of the fruit surface microbiome of apple has revealed variations in the composition and structure depending on management practices, phenological stages, and spatial distribution on the fruit itself. However, the fate of the fruit surface microbiome assembly and dynamics in apple following interventions such as the application of biocontrol agents remains unknown. The objective of the study was to explore the effect of a postharvest application of a yeast biocontrol agent, Metschnikowia fructicola, on the composition of the epiphytic fungal microbiota on apples during cold storage. Our results demonstrated that the applied biocontrol agent, M. fructicola, persisted in high abundance (>28% relative abundance) on the fruit surface throughout the storage period. The biocontrol application significantly decreased the richness and caused a significant shift in the overall composition and structure of the fungal microbiome relative to untreated or water-treated controls. The yeast application reduced the abundance of several apple fungal pathogens, namely, Alternaria, Aspergillus, Comoclatris, Stemphylium, Nigrospora, Penicillium, and Podosphaera, throughout the cold storage period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases)
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Article
Post-Harvest Non-Conventional and Traditional Methods to Control Cadophora luteo-olivacea: Skin Pitting Agent of Actinidia chinensis var. deliciosa (A. Chev.)
Horticulturae 2021, 7(7), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7070169 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Cadophora luteo-olivacea represents a critical problem for kiwifruit in the post-harvest phase, mainly for its little note epidemiology. The study presented some results about the possibility of preserving kiwifruit from skin pitting symptoms using alternative methods to fungicides. By in vitro assays, antagonist [...] Read more.
Cadophora luteo-olivacea represents a critical problem for kiwifruit in the post-harvest phase, mainly for its little note epidemiology. The study presented some results about the possibility of preserving kiwifruit from skin pitting symptoms using alternative methods to fungicides. By in vitro assays, antagonist mechanisms of action against pathogen isolates were tested. Trichoderma harzianum (Th1) showed the highest inhibitory activity against C. luteo-olivacea isolates by volatile, non-volatile, and by dual culture assay, displaying an inhibition respectively by 90%, 70.6%, and 78.8%, and with respect to Aureobasidium pullulans (L1 and L8) by 23.3% and 25.8%, 50% and 34.7%, and 22.5% and 23.6%, respectively. Further, the sensitivity on CFU and mycelial growth of C. luteo-olivacea isolates to fludioxonil, and CaCl2 was tested, displaying interesting EC50 values (0.36 and 0.92 g L−1, 22.5 g L−1, respectively). The effect of Brassica nigra defatted meal was tested as biofumigation assays and through FT-IR (Fourier-Transform Infrared) spectroscopy. The above-mentioned treatments were applied in vivo to evaluate their efficacy on kiwifruits. Our data demonstrated that alternative solutions could be considered to control postharvest pathogens such as C. luteo-olivacea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control of Pre- and Postharvest Fungal Diseases)
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