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ZnO nanoparticles for postharvest strawberry grey mould control

Neringa Rasiukeviciute: Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Institute of Horticulture

<div>It is well known that most of the pathogens can develop high resistance to chemical fungicides. Researchers all over the world are looking for new technologies reducing pesticide consumption. New implements are needed to reduce postharvest losses and control food pathogens. This method is based on measures of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles. Photosensitization is an innovative approach for eliminating fruit pathogens based on simultaneous use of photoactive compound (photosensitizer) and visible light.</p> <p>This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of new measures for reducing contamination of pathogenic fungi in strawberry. The research was carried out at the LAMMC Institute of Horticulture. The photosensitization (PH) evaluated in LED-based light source prototype. Experimental treatments included 1) control, 2) ZnO + PH, and 3) sterile water + PH. Visually healthy strawberry cv. “Darselect” fruits were incubated with photosensitizer ZnO for 1 h and illuminated 30 min. with light (λ=400 nm with an energy density of 20 mW/cm2). Decontaminated fruits assessed after 4 and 8 days of simulated storage at 5-7 <sup>o</sup>C.</p> <p>The experimental results revealed that 4 and 8 days after the ZnO treatment, the number of <em>Botrytis</em> infected fruits reduced by 10% and 13%. In water treatment, the incidence of the grey mould after a 4-day storage was 9% and 19 % higher compared to the control and ZnO. Data indicated that ZnO nanoparticles reduced strawberry contamination with <em>Botrytis cinerea</em>. Such ZnO nanoparticles properties are a promising tool for the development of effective nonchemical fungicides.</p> <p><strong>Keywords: </strong><em>Botrytis cinerea, </em>contamination, photosensitizer, zinc oxide.</div>