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POSTERS: Postharvest pathology and mycotoxins

Effects of sulfur dioxide-emitting polyethylene packaging on postharvest decay and fruit quality of blueberries
Seiya Saito - USDA ARS. Chang-Lin Xiao- USDA ARS, David Obenland- USDA ARS

Blueberry production has been rapidly growing in California during the last two decades. The vast majority of blueberries grown in California are destined for the fresh market, thus prolonging the storage and shelf life of blueberries is important to extending marketing opportunities and increasing exports. However, blueberries are highly perishable. Gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea is one of the major limiting factors of storage and shelf life of blueberries. In addition to postharvest decay, water loss, leading to a decline in both textural and visual quality, is also a significant quality issue that arises during extended storage of blueberries. To search for methods to control decay and maintain fruit quality during storage, the effects of a newly-developed packaging that consists of SO2-emitting low density polyethylene liners with different vent area (0.1, 0.3 and 0.9%) or in combination with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) were evaluated on five southern highbush blueberry varieties. The use of MAP significantly reduced water loss and consequently reduced shriveled fruit compared to the liners with vent, while the use of SO2-emitting liners effectively controlled fruit rots. The SO2-emitting liner with MAP was the best combination to control postharvest decay while maintaining fruit quality during storage.