Prestorage application of high carbon dioxide combined withcontrolled atmosphere storage as a dual approach to control Botrytiscinerea in organic ‘Flame Seedless’ and ‘Crimson Seedless’ table grapes
Pre-storage application of 40% CO2 at 0°C for 24 or 48 h and controlled atmosphere (12% O2 + 12% CO2) storage at 0°C for up to eight weeks on decay control and quality of organic ‘Flame Seedless’ and ‘Crimson Seedless’ table grapes were studied as a postharvest disease control alternative. To simulate different potential field conditions, these organic treatments were applied to organic-grown grapes that were naturally infected (without inoculation), surface inoculated (berries inoculated by spraying with a conidia suspension), and nesting inoculated (clusters inoculated by placing in the middle an artificially infected berry) with the pathogen Botrytis cinerea, the cause of grape gray mold. Under these three conditions, a 40% CO2 for 48 h pre-storage treatment followed by controlled atmosphere reduced the gray mold incidence from 22% to 0.6% and from 100% to 7.4% after four and seven weeks, respectively. High CO2 pre-storagealone limited botrytis incidence in both naturally and artificially infected grapes, but was more effective when combined with CA. These treatments did not affect visual or sensory fruit quality. Exposure tohigh CO2 for 24 or 48 h effectively inhibited mycelial growth of B. cinerea in PDA plates incubated at 22°C for up to 72 h. Conidia germination in PDA plates was reduced ∼60% after 12 h incubation. In vitro studies demonstrated a fungistatic effect, but further studies on the mechanism of action could improve treatment performance. This novel high CO2 initial fumigation followed by controlled atmosphere during storage or transportation could be a commercially feasible alternative for postharvest handling of organic and conventional table grapes. Our results encourage validating this combined physical treatment in other cultivars and under commercial conditions.