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Control of Postharvest Pathogens and Colonization of the Apple Surface by Antagonistic Microorganisms in the Field

November 1997 , Volume 87 , Number  11
Pages  1,103 - 1,110

Wolfgang Leibinger , Barbara Breuker , Matthias Hahn , and Kurt Mendgen

Universität Konstanz, Fakultät für Biologie, Lehrstuhl für Phytopathologie, D-78464 Konstanz, Germany

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Accepted for publication 15 July 1997.

Selected isolates of Aureobasidium pullulans, Rhodotorula glutinis, and Bacillus subtilis reduced the size and number of lesions on wounded apples caused by the postharvest pathogens Penicillium expansum, Botrytis cinerea, and Pezicula malicorticis. Combinations of the antagonistic microorganisms were applied to apple trees in the field late in the growing season of two consecutive years. The population dynamics of the introduced microorganisms and the incidence of fruit decay were determined. Population sizes of introduced antagonists on apple surfaces increased in the field following application of treatments until harvest. After transfer of the fruit from the field into cold storage, the populations of the introduced antagonists remained higher than in the control treatments. Identification of the applied isolates of A. pullulans and R. glutinis during the experiments was achieved by isolate-specific DNA probes generated from random amplified polymorphic DNA. A combination of two strains of A. pullulans and one strain of R. glutinis suppressed rotting of apple to the same extent as the commonly used fungicide Euparen. Our data demonstrate that the application of antagonistic microorganisms in the field represents a promising alternative to fungicide treatments to control post-harvest diseases of apple.

© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society