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Chitosan and Natural Compounds for the Control of Preharvest and Postharvest Diseases of Horticultural Commodities

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2023) | Viewed by 40260

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, 60131 Ancona, Italy
Interests: chitosan; essential oils; gray mold; postharvest decay; seedborne pathogens
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
National Polytechnic Institute, Center for Development of Biotic Products, Morelos, Mexico
Interests: chitosan; coatings; essential oils; plant extracts; postharvest decay

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

A great number of plant pathogens cause diseases in horticultural crops during the preharvest and postharvest stages, which can result in considerable economic losses. Foodborne pathogen contamination can also occur during postharvest processing, with consequently devastating economic losses, in addition to social and environmental costs. Therefore, significant efforts to reduce the incidence of the causal agents of such diseases are being made. Over the years, the most widely used strategies for reducing food loss due to disease have involved synthetic pesticides. However, these control methods have brought serious environmental issues, largely due to their toxicity, long-term residues, and damage to human health. In many cases, this has led to widespread restrictions to their use. As a result, other routes to reduce the impact of these chemical agents have been sought worldwide. Among the alternatives that are currently being investigated are animal derivatives, such as chitosan and propolis, and plant derivatives, such as volatiles, extracts and essential oils, biocontrol agents and their derivatives, and organic acids.

Most plant pathogens and foodborne microorganisms are of international interest; hence, their control falls upon all of us. Therefore, the purpose of this Special Issue is to publish relevant scientific data and reviews that include novel non-chemical and non-toxic alternatives for the control of agricultural pathogenic microorganisms. The scope of this Special Issue of Molecules entitled, 'Chitosan and natural compounds for the control of preharvest and postharvest diseases of horticultural commodities' is focused on ongoing research and the latest developments with animal and plant derivatives, plus other options that are gaining interest within the scientific community.

Prof. Dr. Gianfranco Romanazzi
Prof. Dr. Silvia Bautista-Baños
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 3018 KiB  
Article
Effect of Biodegradable Coatings on the Growth of Aspergillus flavus In Vitro, on Maize Grains, and on the Quality of Tortillas during Storage
by Rosa I. Ventura-Aguilar, César Gónzalez-Andrade, Mónica Hernández-López, Zormy N. Correa-Pacheco, Pervin K. Teksür, Margarita de L. Ramos-García and Silvia Bautista-Baños
Molecules 2022, 27(14), 4545; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27144545 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1366
Abstract
The fungus Aspergillus flavus causes serious damage to maize grains and its by-products, such as tortilla. Currently, animal and plant derivatives, such as chitosan and propolis, and plant extract residues, respectively, are employed as alternatives of synthetic fungicides. The objective of this research [...] Read more.
The fungus Aspergillus flavus causes serious damage to maize grains and its by-products, such as tortilla. Currently, animal and plant derivatives, such as chitosan and propolis, and plant extract residues, respectively, are employed as alternatives of synthetic fungicides. The objective of this research was to evaluate the efficacy of several formulations based on propolis-chitosan-pine resin extract on the in vitro growth of A. flavus, the growth of maize grain plantlets and the quality of stored tortillas at 4 and 28 °C. The most outstanding formulation was that based on 59.7% chitosan + 20% propolis nanoparticles + 20% pine resin extract nanoparticles; since the in vitro conidia germination of A. flavus did not occur, disease incidence on grains was 25–30% and in tortillas, 0% infection was recorded, along with low aflatoxin production (1.0 ppb). The grain germination and seedling growth were markedly reduced by the nanocoating application. The percentage weight loss and color of tortillas were more affected by this coating compared to the control, and the rollability fell within the scale of non-ruptured at 4 °C and partially ruptured at 28 °C. The next step is to evaluate the toxicity of this formulation. Full article
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20 pages, 3363 KiB  
Article
Antimicrobial Activities of Plant Extracts against Solanum tuberosum L. Phytopathogens
by Aleksandra Steglińska, Anastasiia Bekhter, Paweł Wawrzyniak, Alina Kunicka-Styczyńska, Konrad Jastrząbek, Michał Fidler, Krzysztof Śmigielski and Beata Gutarowska
Molecules 2022, 27(5), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27051579 - 27 Feb 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3148
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to select an environmentally friendly plant biopesticide to protect seed potatoes against phytopathogens. The scope included the evaluation of the antimicrobial activities of 22 plant water extracts, 22 water-glycol extracts, and 3 subcritical carbon dioxide extracts using [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to select an environmentally friendly plant biopesticide to protect seed potatoes against phytopathogens. The scope included the evaluation of the antimicrobial activities of 22 plant water extracts, 22 water-glycol extracts, and 3 subcritical carbon dioxide extracts using the agar diffusion method against 10 potato phytopathogens. For the most effective extracts, minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC), chemical composition analysis by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and in situ assays on seed potatoes were performed. Garlic water extract was finally selected as the most effective in phytopathogen growth inhibition, both in vitro and in situ, with MIC values ranging between 6.3–25 mg/mL. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural was determined to be the main component of this extract (33.24%). Garlic water extract was proposed as a potential biopesticide against potato phytopathogens. Full article
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17 pages, 5683 KiB  
Article
Chitosan Sensitivity of Fungi Isolated from Mango (Mangifera indica L.) with Anthracnose
by Griselda Valenzuela-Ortiz, Soila Maribel Gaxiola-Camacho, Cesar San-Martín-Hernández, Miguel Ángel Martínez-Téllez, Emmanuel Aispuro-Hernández, Jaime Lizardi-Mendoza and Eber Addí Quintana-Obregón
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27041244 - 12 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2280
Abstract
In Mexico, the mango crop is affected by anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum species. In the search for environmentally friendly fungicides, chitosan has shown antifungal activity. Therefore, fungal isolates were obtained from plant tissue with anthracnose symptoms from the state of Guerrero in Mexico [...] Read more.
In Mexico, the mango crop is affected by anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum species. In the search for environmentally friendly fungicides, chitosan has shown antifungal activity. Therefore, fungal isolates were obtained from plant tissue with anthracnose symptoms from the state of Guerrero in Mexico and identified with the ITS and β-Tub2 genetic markers. Isolates of the Colletotrichum gloeosporioides complex were again identified with the markers ITS, Act, β-Tub2, GADPH, CHS-1, CaM, and ApMat. Commercial chitosan (Aldrich, lot # STBF3282V) was characterized, and its antifungal activity was evaluated on the radial growth of the fungal isolates. The isolated anthracnose-causing species were C. chrysophilum, C. fructicola, C. siamense, and C. musae. Other fungi found were Alternaria sp., Alternaria tenuissima, Fusarium sp., Pestalotiopsis sp., Curvularia lunata, Diaporthe pseudomangiferae, and Epicoccum nigrum. Chitosan showed 78% deacetylation degree and a molecular weight of 32 kDa. Most of the Colletotrichum species and the other identified fungi were susceptible to 1 g L−1 chitosan. However, two C. fructicola isolates were less susceptible to chitosan. Although chitosan has antifungal activity, the interactions between species of the Colletotrichum gloeosporioides complex and their effect on chitosan susceptibility should be studied based on genomic changes with molecular evidence. Full article
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13 pages, 1826 KiB  
Article
Effective In Vitro Control of Two Phytopathogens of Agricultural Interest Using Cell-Free Extracts of Pseudomonas fluorescens and Chitosan
by Ariadna Berenice Trejo-Raya, Víctor Manuel Rodríguez-Romero, Silvia Bautista-Baños, Francisco Roberto Quiroz-Figueroa, Ramón Villanueva-Arce and Enrique Durán-Páramo
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6359; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216359 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1767
Abstract
A biofungicide is a natural product that can be derived from various sources such as, among others, microorganisms, higher plants, animal products, phytochemicals, semiochemicals, and antagonist microorganisms. One of the most important approaches for the production of biofungicides is the combination of biocontrol [...] Read more.
A biofungicide is a natural product that can be derived from various sources such as, among others, microorganisms, higher plants, animal products, phytochemicals, semiochemicals, and antagonist microorganisms. One of the most important approaches for the production of biofungicides is the combination of biocontrol agents. This study showed the inhibition growth of Alternaria alternata and Fusarium solani treated with cell-free extracts of P. fluorescens. Using thin-layer chromatography and plate assays it was also demonstrated that the cell-free extracts of P. fluorescens contained siderophores and derivates of 4-diacetylphloroglucinol and phenazine. Moreover, the combination of cell-free extracts of P. fluorescens and chitosan [50–1.5% (v/v)] had a synergistic effect since they notably inhibited the mycelial growth of A. altenata and F. solani. Various morphological alterations to the mycelia and conidia of the treated fungi as a result of this combination were also observed. The present study could be a starting point to control other fungal phytopathogens using different cell-free extracts and chitosan as biocontrol agents. Full article
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11 pages, 2235 KiB  
Article
Sensitivity of Botrytis cinerea Isolates Complex to Plant Extracts
by Lina Dėnė and Alma Valiuškaitė
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4595; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154595 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2670
Abstract
New agricultural strategies aim to reduce the use of pesticides due to their damage to the environment and humans, and the caused resistance to pathogens. Therefore, alternative sources of antifungal compounds from plants are under investigation lately. Extracts from plants have a wide [...] Read more.
New agricultural strategies aim to reduce the use of pesticides due to their damage to the environment and humans, and the caused resistance to pathogens. Therefore, alternative sources of antifungal compounds from plants are under investigation lately. Extracts from plants have a wide composition of chemical compounds which may complicate the development of pathogen resistance. Botrytis cinerea, causing grey mould, is an important horticultural and ornamental pathogen, responsible for the relevant yield and quality losses. B. cinerea isolated from a different plant host may differ in the sensitivity to antifungal substances from plants. Assessing the importance of research covering a wide range of pathogens for the rapid development of biopesticides, this study aims to determine the sensitivity of the B. cinerea isolate complex (10 strains) to plant extracts, describe morphological changes caused by the extract treatment, and detect differences between the sensitivity of different plant host isolates. The results showed the highest sensitivity of the B. cinerea isolates complex to cinnamon extract, and the lowest to laurel extract. In contrast, laurel extract caused the most changes of morphological attributes in the isolates. Five B. cinerea isolates from plant hosts of raspberry, cabbage, apple, bell pepper, and rose were grouped statistically according to their sensitivity to laurel extract. Meanwhile, the bell pepper isolate separated from the isolate complex based on its sensitivity to clove extract, and the strawberry and apple isolates based on their sensitivity to cinnamon extract. Full article
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12 pages, 1479 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Seven Essential Oils as Seed Treatments against Seedborne Fungal Pathogens of Cucurbita maxima
by Marwa Moumni, Mohamed Bechir Allagui, Kaies Mezrioui, Hajer Ben Amara and Gianfranco Romanazzi
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2354; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082354 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3191
Abstract
Essential oils are gaining interest as environmentally friendly alternatives to synthetic fungicides for management of seedborne pathogens. Here, seven essential oils were initially tested in vivo for disinfection of squash seeds (Cucurbita maxima) naturally contaminated by Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum, Alternaria alternata [...] Read more.
Essential oils are gaining interest as environmentally friendly alternatives to synthetic fungicides for management of seedborne pathogens. Here, seven essential oils were initially tested in vivo for disinfection of squash seeds (Cucurbita maxima) naturally contaminated by Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum, Alternaria alternata, Fusarium fujikuro, Fusarium solani, Paramyrothecium roridum, Albifimbria verrucaria, Curvularia spicifera, and Rhizopus stolonifer. The seeds were treated with essential oils from Cymbopogon citratus, Lavandula dentata, Lavandula hybrida, Melaleuca alternifolia, Laurus nobilis, and Origanum majorana (#1 and #2). Incidence of S. cucurbitacearum was reduced, representing a range between 67.0% in L. nobilis to 84.4% in O. majorana #2. Treatments at 0.5 mg/mL essential oils did not affect seed germination, although radicles were shorter than controls, except with C. citratus and O. majorana #1 essential oils. Four days after seeding, seedling emergence was 20%, 30%, and 10% for control seeds and seeds treated with C. citratus essential oil (0.5 mg/mL) and fungicides (25 g/L difenoconazole plus 25 g/L fludioxonil). S. cucurbitacearum incidence was reduced by ~40% for plantlets from seeds treated with C. citratus essential oil. These data show the effectiveness of this essential oil to control the transmission of S. cucurbitacearum from seeds to plantlets, and thus define their potential use for seed decontamination in integrated pest management and organic agriculture. Full article
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Review

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39 pages, 5349 KiB  
Review
Basic Substances, a Sustainable Tool to Complement and Eventually Replace Synthetic Pesticides in the Management of Pre and Postharvest Diseases: Reviewed Instructions for Users
by Gianfranco Romanazzi, Yann Orçonneau, Marwa Moumni, Yann Davillerd and Patrice André Marchand
Molecules 2022, 27(11), 3484; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27113484 - 28 May 2022
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3369
Abstract
Synthetic pesticides are widely used to protect crops from pathogens and pests, especially for fruits and vegetables, and this may lead to the presence of residues on fresh produce. Improving the sustainability of agriculture and, at the same time, reducing the adverse effects [...] Read more.
Synthetic pesticides are widely used to protect crops from pathogens and pests, especially for fruits and vegetables, and this may lead to the presence of residues on fresh produce. Improving the sustainability of agriculture and, at the same time, reducing the adverse effects of synthetic pesticides on human health requires effective alternatives that improve the productivity while maintaining the food quality and safety. Moreover, retailers increasingly request fresh produce with the amounts of pesticides largely below the official maximum residue levels. Basic substances are relatively novel compounds that can be used in plant protection without neurotoxic or immune-toxic effects and are still poorly known by phytosanitary consultants (plant doctors), researchers, growers, consumers, and decision makers. The focus of this review is to provide updated information about 24 basic substances currently approved in the EU and to summarize in a single document their properties and instructions for users. Most of these substances have a fungicidal activity (calcium hydroxide, chitosan, chitosan hydrochloride, Equisetum arvense L., hydrogen peroxide, lecithins, cow milk, mustard seed powder, Salix spp., sunflower oil, sodium chloride, sodium hydrogen carbonate, Urtica spp., vinegar, and whey). Considering the increasing requests from consumers of fruits and vegetables for high quality with no or a reduced amount of pesticide residues, basic substances can complement and, at times, replace the application of synthetic pesticides with benefits for users and for consumers. Large-scale trials are important to design the best dosage and strategies for the application of basic substances against pathogens and pests in different growing environments and contexts. Full article
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12 pages, 6130 KiB  
Review
Non-Chemical Treatments for the Pre- and Post-Harvest Elicitation of Defense Mechanisms in the Fungi–Avocado Pathosystem
by Juan Antonio Herrera-González, Silvia Bautista-Baños, Mario Serrano, Gianfranco Romanazzi and Porfirio Gutiérrez-Martínez
Molecules 2021, 26(22), 6819; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26226819 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4031
Abstract
The greatest challenge for the avocado (Persea americana Miller) industry is to maintain the quality of the fruit to meet consumer requirements. Anthracnose is considered the most important disease in this industry, and it is caused by different species of the genus [...] Read more.
The greatest challenge for the avocado (Persea americana Miller) industry is to maintain the quality of the fruit to meet consumer requirements. Anthracnose is considered the most important disease in this industry, and it is caused by different species of the genus Colletotrichum, although other pathogens can be equally important. The defense mechanisms that fruit naturally uses can be triggered in response to the attack of pathogenic microorganisms and also by the application of exogenous elicitors in the form of GRAS compounds. The elicitors are recognized by receptors called PRRs, which are proteins located on the avocado fruit cell surface that have high affinity and specificity for PAMPs, MAMPs, and DAMPs. The activation of defense-signaling pathways depends on ethylene, salicylic, and jasmonic acids, and it occurs hours or days after PTI activation. These defense mechanisms aim to drive the pathogen to death. The application of essential oils, antagonists, volatile compounds, chitosan and silicon has been documented in vitro and on avocado fruit, showing some of them to have elicitor and fungicidal effects that are reflected in the postharvest quality of the fruit and a lower incidence of diseases. The main focus of these studies has been on anthracnose diseases. This review presents the most relevant advances in the use of natural compounds with antifungal and elicitor effects in plant tissues. Full article
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9 pages, 485 KiB  
Review
Toward Understanding the Molecular Recognition of Fungal Chitin and Activation of the Plant Defense Mechanism in Horticultural Crops
by Yaima Henry García, Orlando Reyes Zamora, Rosalba Troncoso-Rojas, Martín Ernesto Tiznado-Hernández, María Elena Báez-Flores, Elizabeth Carvajal-Millan and Agustín Rascón-Chu
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6513; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216513 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2261
Abstract
Large volumes of fruit and vegetable production are lost during postharvest handling due to attacks by necrotrophic fungi. One of the promising alternatives proposed for the control of postharvest diseases is the induction of natural defense responses, which can be activated by recognizing [...] Read more.
Large volumes of fruit and vegetable production are lost during postharvest handling due to attacks by necrotrophic fungi. One of the promising alternatives proposed for the control of postharvest diseases is the induction of natural defense responses, which can be activated by recognizing molecules present in pathogens, such as chitin. Chitin is one of the most important components of the fungal cell wall and is recognized through plant membrane receptors. These receptors belong to the receptor-like kinase (RLK) family, which possesses a transmembrane domain and/or receptor-like protein (RLP) that requires binding to another RLK receptor to recognize chitin. In addition, these receptors have extracellular LysM motifs that participate in the perception of chitin oligosaccharides. These receptors have been widely studied in Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) and Oryza sativa (O. sativa); however, it is not clear how the molecular recognition and plant defense mechanisms of chitin oligosaccharides occur in other plant species or fruits. This review includes recent findings on the molecular recognition of chitin oligosaccharides and how they activate defense mechanisms in plants. In addition, we highlight some of the current advances in chitin perception in horticultural crops. Full article
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20 pages, 5551 KiB  
Review
Advances in Control Strategies against Spodoptera frugiperda. A Review
by Francisco A. Paredes-Sánchez, Gildardo Rivera, Virgilio Bocanegra-García, Hadassa Y. Martínez-Padrón, Martín Berrones-Morales, Nohemí Niño-García and Verónica Herrera-Mayorga
Molecules 2021, 26(18), 5587; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26185587 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 67 | Viewed by 8493
Abstract
The strategies for controlling the insect pest Spodoptera frugiperda have been developing over the past four decades; however, the insecticide resistance and the remarkable adaptability of this insect have hindered its success. This review first analyzes the different chemical compounds currently available and [...] Read more.
The strategies for controlling the insect pest Spodoptera frugiperda have been developing over the past four decades; however, the insecticide resistance and the remarkable adaptability of this insect have hindered its success. This review first analyzes the different chemical compounds currently available and the most promising options to control S. frugiperda. Then, we analyze the metabolites obtained from plant extracts with antifeedant, repellent, insecticide, or ovicide effects that could be environmentally friendly options for developing botanical S. frugiperda insecticides. Subsequently, we analyze the biological control based on the use of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasitoids against this pest. Finally, the use of sex pheromones to monitor this pest is analyzed. The advances reviewed could provide a wide panorama to guide the search for new pesticidal strategies but focused on environmental sustainability against S. frugiperda. Full article
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13 pages, 303 KiB  
Review
Cinnamon as a Useful Preventive Substance for the Care of Human and Plant Health
by Jolanta Kowalska, Józef Tyburski, Kinga Matysiak, Magdalena Jakubowska, Joanna Łukaszyk and Joanna Krzymińska
Molecules 2021, 26(17), 5299; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26175299 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 5569
Abstract
Cinnamon is widely used as a food spice, but due to its antibacterial and pharmacological properties, it can also be used in processing, medicine and agriculture. The word “Cinnamon” can refer to the plant, processed material, or an extract. It is sometimes used [...] Read more.
Cinnamon is widely used as a food spice, but due to its antibacterial and pharmacological properties, it can also be used in processing, medicine and agriculture. The word “Cinnamon” can refer to the plant, processed material, or an extract. It is sometimes used as a substance, and sometimes used as a mixture or as compounds or a group. This article reviews research into the effectiveness of various forms of cinnamon for the control of plant diseases and pests in crops and during storage of fruit and vegetables. Cinnamon acts on pests mainly as a repellent, although in higher doses it has a biocidal effect and prevents egg-laying. Cinnamon and its compounds effectively hinder bacterial and fungal growth, and the phytotoxic effects of cinnamon make it a possible herbicide. This article presents the wide practical use of cinnamon for various purposes, mainly in agriculture. Cinnamon is a candidate for approval as a basic substance with protective potential. In particular, it can be used in organic farming as a promising alternative to chemical pesticides for use in plant protection, especially in preventive treatments. The use of natural products is in line with the restriction of the use of chemical pesticides and the principles of the EU’s Green Deal. Full article
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