Some naturally occurring yeasts may be useful for protecting stone fruits against pathogens that attack after harvest. USDA scientists looked to the microflora on the surface of the plum to find potential biocontrol agents against brown rot.
At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia, plant pathologist Wojciech Janisiewicz and his colleagues determined that the surface of plums harbor several yeast species with excellent potential for use as biological controls against brown rot. Brown rot is caused by the fungus Monilinia fructicola.
Fruit surfaces are naturally colonized by a variety of microbes, including bacteria and yeast. Some of those native microorganisms have been shown to have a beneficial effect on reducing fruit decay after harvest.
In previous efforts, Janisiewicz developed a bacterium normally found on apples into a commercial biological control product that can be used instead of fungicides to control pome fruit diseases. The product is allowed in organic production. A lot of information exists about the benefits of natural fruit microflora on grapes and apples, but for plums, the extent of their potential for biological control of fruit decay remains largely unknown. Continue Reading →