Evaluation of Food Additives as Alternative or Complementary Chemicals to Conventional Fungicides for the Control of Major Postharvest Diseases of Stone Fruit
To evaluate potential alternatives to conventional fungicides to control decay, more than 20 food additives and generally regarded as safe compounds were tested at three concentrations in in vivo primary screenings with several cultivars of California peaches, nectarines, and plums that had been artificially inoculated with seven major postharvest pathogens: Monilinia fructicola, Botrytis cinerea, Geotrichum candidum, Alternaria alternata, Penicillium expansum, Mucor piriformis, and Rhizopus stolonifer. Overall, the best compounds were 200 mM potassium sorbate (PS), 200 mM sodium benzoate (SB), 200 mM sodium sorbate, 100 mM 2-deoxy-D-glucose, 400 mM sodium carbonate, and 250 mM potassium carbonate. Sodium and ammonium molybdates, acid lactic, and hydrogen peroxide were somewhat effective but were phytotoxic to fruit skin tissues. However, the best compounds lacked effectiveness and persistence when tested against brown rot in small-scale trials of 60-s dips in aqueous solutions at ambient temperatures; PS and SB reduced brown rot incidence by less than 40%. Rinsing treated fruit with tap water reduced the efficacy of the compounds by up to 30%. In contrast, heating the solutions to 55 or 60°C significantly increased treatment efficacy. Brown rot incidence and severity were reduced by 35 and 25%, respectively, on PS-treated peaches after 7 days of incubation at 20°C. However, treatment efficacy was not superior to that with water alone at these temperatures. In semicommercial trials, mixtures of fludioxonil with PS, SB, or 2-deoxy-D-glucose applied as fruit coatings on a packing line were not synergistic in their effect on brown rot, gray mold, and sour rot.