Commercial Postharvest Practices Used to Handle Fresh Citrus Fruit with Canker Symptoms

Mark A. Ritenour, Lucimeire Pilon, Ron Muraro, Jan Narciso, Thomas F. Burks


To assist in developing best postharvest practices for handling fruit with canker lesions, a survey was distributed in summers of 2008 and 2009 to better understand current practices. Approximately 60% of the surveys were returned each year, representing about 55% of total fresh fruit shipments. As expected, the percentage of fruit received from blocks certified canker free declined from 2008 to 2009 as canker spread within the state. Sodium o-phenylphenate was the fruit disinfestation sanitizer most used by 52% of the packers to decontaminate fruit in 2008, but its use declined to 47% in 2009. Use of peroxyacetic acid increased from 21% to 33% over the same period, while chlorine use dropped from 27% to 20%. Most (~50%) of the sanitizers were applied as the fruit were first wetted, but managers were switching more to applying as the fruit were washed or afterwards. For both years, an average of 22 human graders were stationed at different points on the packingline to evaluate each load, with most (83%) increasing to 27 graders when fruit was known to come from a block with canker infection. All but one respondent reported that electronic graders were not useful for removing fruit with canker symptoms. In 2009, packers estimated that 34% of the citrus crop normally packed for the European Union market was disqualified because of canker and that 12% of the product packed for the domestic or Japanese markets was either disqualified, or contained sufficient canker infection to make unprofitable to pack for the fresh market.


Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, fruit grading, canker identification, fruit disinfestation sanitizers

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