Eduardo S. G.
Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-5908
Seven organic and inorganic salts were tested for suppression of silver scurf, a postharvest disease of potato tubers caused by Helminthosporium solani. Potassium sorbate, calcium propionate, sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, and ammonium bicarbonate were added to V8 agar at concentrations of 0.06--0.2 M. Radial growth of H. solani was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) by all salts at all concentrations. All salts except sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate were fungicidal at 0.2 M. Effects of postharvest salt treatments on disease severity and sporulation of H. solani on inoculated and naturally infected potato tubers were evaluated in separate experiments. Greenhouse-grown tubers were inoculated with H. solani spore suspensions (2 × 105 spores/ml), incubated for 5 days, dipped into 0.2 M solutions of each of the salts, and incubated in a moist chamber at 22--24°C for 6 weeks. All salt treatments prevented lesion development and sporulation of H. solani and differed significantly (P < 0.05) from the control. Postharvest applications of test compounds (0.2M) also significantly (P < 0.05) reduced disease severity and H. solani sporulation on naturally infected, field-grown tubers after 15 weeks of storage at 10°C. Salt treatments did not differ in disease or pathogen suppression. These relatively nontoxic organic and inorganic salts have potential as postharvest applications for control of silver scurf.