Occurrence of Gray Mold in Stored Strawberries as Affected by Ripeness, Temperature, and Atmosphere

M C N Nunes, A M M B Morais, J K Brecht, S A Sargent, J A Bartz, R A Allen, J H Lee, D M Pires, J Pittet-Moore


Development of postharvest decay in strawberries in general and gray mold caused by Botrytis cinereain particular, was evaluated, specifically: 1) the effect of controlled atmosphere (CA; 5% O2+ 15% CO2) on different developmental stages of the pathogen; 2) the interaction of fruit ripeness and CA storage among fruit stored for 1 or 2 weeks at normal cold storage temperatures (4 or 10 °C) for commercial handling; and 3) the residual effects of CA storage after transfer to air on strawberry susceptibility to fruit rot. Delaying CA establishment for 12 or 24 h at 20 °C after wound inoculation resulted in progressively more disease development, suggesting that the CA had a greater inhibitory effect on B. cinerea spore germination vs. mycelial growth. The least decay occurred on three-quarter colored fruit stored in CA vs. air and at the lower temperature, and CA had a greater effect at 10 °C than at 4 °C. These effects persisted during a 24-h display treatment (fruit held in air at 20 °C after the main storage treatments). Additionally, inoculation following 1 or 2 weeks storage at 4 or 10 °C indicated that CA helped strawberry fruit maintain resistance to gray mold, especially at the higher storage temperature.


Fragaria ×ananassa, Botrytis cinerea, decay, infection, maturity, postharvest

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283