Johannes Petrus Louw and
Lise Korsten, University of Pretoria, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, New Agricultural Building, Lunnon Road, Hillcrest, 0083, South Africa
Citrus fruit are exposed to numerous postharvest pathogens throughout the fresh produce supply chain. Well-known postharvest citrus fruit pathogens are Penicillium digitatum and P. italicum. Lesser-known pathogens include P. crustosum and P. expansum. This study examined pathogenicity and aggressiveness of Penicillium spp. present in fresh fruit supply chains on various Citrus spp. and cultivars. The impact of different inoculation methods and storage conditions on decay were also assessed. P. digitatum and P. italicum were the most aggressive Penicillium spp. on citrus but aggressiveness varied significantly over the evaluated citrus range. Decay and tissue-response lesions caused by P. crustosum were observed on ‘Nules Clementine’, ‘Nova’, ‘Owari Satsuma’, ‘Delta Valencia’, ‘Cambria Navel’, ‘Eureka’ seeded, and ‘Star Ruby’ for the first time. Likewise, these lesions caused by P. expansum were noted on Nules Clementine, Owari Satsuma, Delta Valencia, ‘Midknight Valencia’, and Eureka seeded for the first time. Tissue-response lesions affect fruit quality and some Penicillium spp. sporulated from the lesions, causing the inoculated species to complete their life cycle. New citrus–Penicillium spp. interactions were observed and the importance of monitoring inoculum loads of pathogens and nonhost pathogens were highlighted.