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Effects of UV photocatalytic ethylene removal on interactions between Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) fruit

Alexander Fletcher: University of Nottingham

<div>Anthracnose, caused by <em>Colletotrichum gloeosporioides</em>, creates major problems in the postharvest market; particularly in tropical fruits. The pathogen causes significant economic loss due to its ability to remain asymptomatic at harvest before switching to a necrotrophic, aggressive stage of infection. A treatment that prevents disease in storage and transport environments would significantly reduce the amount of waste caused by the fungus. Tomato fruits were used as a model and inoculated with <em>C. gloeosporioides</em> prior to storage in either a chamber fitted with a UV photocatalytic ethylene removal system, or a control chamber. Fruits were incubated at 16°C for 4 weeks. Constant ethylene removal was successful in reducing the occurrence and severity of anthracnose without significantly effecting the fruits physiological appearance. Control chamber fruits were decimated by severe disease, whereas fruits in the ethylene removal chamber remained healthy and symptomless. Ongoing research is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms induced by ethylene removal in both pathogen and fruit to determine how this treatment is preventing disease. These findings could have a significant impact on the postharvest market since the UV photocatalytic ethylene removal system is easy to install and implement in all steps of the supply chain. Prevention of anthracnose observed due to this treatment could result in major reductions in fruit losses caused by <em>C. gloeosporioides.</em></div>