Control of Citrus Green Mold by Carbonate and Bicarbonate Salts and the Influence of Commercial Postharvest Practices on Their Efficacy

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The toxicity to Penicillium digitatum and practical use of carbonate and bicarbonate salts to control green mold were determined. The effective dose (ED50) concentrations to inhibit the germination of P. digitatum spores of sodium carbonate (SC), potassium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate (SBC), ammonium bicarbonate, and potassium bicarbonate were 5.0, 6.2, 14.1, 16.4, and 33.4 mM, respectively. All were fungistatic because spores removed from the solutions germinated in potato dextrose broth. SC and SBC were equal and superior to the other salts for control of green mold on lemons and oranges inoculated 24 h before treatment. When sodium content and high pH must be minimized, SBC could replace SC. Furthermore, because a higher proportion of NaOCl would be present in the active hypochlorous acid at the lower pH of SBC compared to SC, sanitation of the SBC solution should be easier to maintain. NaOCl (200 μg/ml) added to SBC at pH 7.5 improved green mold control. Rinse water as high as 50 ml per fruit applied after SC did not reduce its effectiveness; however, high-pressure water cleaning after SC did. Conversely, high-pressure water cleaning of fruit before SC improved control of green mold. The risk of injury to fruit posed by SC treatment was determined by immersing oranges for 1 min in 3% (wt/vol) SC at 28, 33, 44, 50, 56, or 61°C (±1°C) and followed by storage for 3 weeks at 10°C. Rind injuries occurred only after treatment at 56 and 61°C. The risk of injury is low because these temperatures exceed that needed for control of green mold. SC was compatible with subsequent imazalil and biological control treatments.

Joseph L. Smilanick
Dennis A. Margosan
Franka Mlikota
Josep Usall
Ibrahim F. Michael
Plant Disease