Effectiveness of Postharvest Treatment with Chitosan to Control Citrus Green Mold
Control of green mold, caused by Penicillium digitatum, by fungicides raises several problems, such as emergence of resistant pathogens, as well as concerns about the environment and consumers’ health. As potential alternatives, the effects of chitosan on green mold disease and the quality attributes of citrus fruits were investigated. Fruits were wounded then treated with different concentrations of chitosan 24 h before their inoculation with P. digitatum. The results of in vitro experiment demonstrated that the antifungal activity against P. digitatum was improved in concert to the increase of chitosan concentration. In an in vivo study, green mold was significantly reduced by chitosan treatments. In parallel, chitinase and glucanase activities were enhanced in coated fruits. Evidence suggested that effects of chitosan coating on green mold of mandarin fruits might be related to its fungitoxic properties against the pathogen and/or the elicitation of biochemical defense responses in coated fruits. Further, quality attributes including fruit firmness, surface color, juice content, and total soluble solids, were not affected by chitosan during storage. Moreover, the loss of weight was even less pronounced in chitosan-coated fruit.