Apples have an annual farm-gate value of nearly $4 billion in the United States, with downstream revenues exceeding $15 billion (US. Apple Association). Postharvest fungal fruit rots are a major threat to the apple industry and result in losses ranging from 1% - 15% in the U.S. annually. Postharvest rots negatively affect fruit quality, thereby reducing fresh fruit for consumption, and significantly contribute to food waste. In addition to product losses, costs associated with sorting, repacking and additional fungicide treatments can add up quickly and worsen economic impact of losses due to rot. Research to-date for understanding causal agents for postharvest apple diseases and their sources, and mitigation measures has been concentrated in Washington and Oregon; however, little information is known for the Mid-Atlantic fruit industry. The overall goal of the proposed research is to generate regional-specific postharvest apple disease data and optimized management recommendations for the Mid-Atlantic apple industry. Achieving this goal will impact the Mid-Atlantic apple industry and consumers by reducing apple fruit decay during storage, which in turn will abate mycotoxin contamination of processed apple products. This will be accomplished by achieving the follwing objectives for this project:Objective 1: Enumerate and identify inoculum sources and fungicide resistance profiles of fungi causing postharvest apple rots from the field through postharvest handling and storage.Objective 2: Determine and optimize alternative treatments and application methods to eliminate fungal inoculum on bins and fruit.Objective 3: Develop and disseminate extension programs in both English and Spanish for optimized chemical and cultural postharvest disease management protocols and procedures.
Resolving inoculum sources and evaluating alternatives to mitigate postharvest diseases, food losses, and mycotoxin contamination in apple
Pennsylvania State University