International Journal of Horticulture and Food Science
2022, Vol. 4, Issue 2, Part A
Role of biocontrol agents in management of post harvest diseases of fruits and vegetables
Meenu Rani, Julie D Bandral and Monika Sood
In recent years, there has been considerable interest in the use of antagonistic microorganisms for the control of postharvest diseases. Such organisms can be isolated from a variety of sources including fermented food products, the surfaces of leaves, fruit and vegetables. Post-harvest diseases need to be controlled to maintain the quality and abundance of fruits and vegetables produced by growers around the world. Post-harvest decay of fruits and vegetables accounts for significant level of post-harvest losses. It is estimated that about 20-25 percent of the harvested fruits and vegetables are decayed by pathogens even in developed countries. A mechanism of action may be explained as the strategy used by a beneficial microorganism against a disease-causing pathogen. Mechanism of this biological control based on ecological interactions, such as competition for space and nutrients, myco parasitism, antibiosis and induction of plant defenses. Microbial antagonists are applied either before or after harvest, but postharvest applications are more effective than pre harvest applications. Biological control is less costly and cheaper than any other methods. They do not cause toxicity to the plants. The present review focuses on post-harvest food losses, post-harvest diseases and methods to control these diseases. In this review various bio-control agents, their characteristics, mode of action and importance in agriculture have been emphasized. Application of microbial antagonistic is a better, practical and useful method for controlling postharvest diseases of fruits and vegetables. Techniques involved in the bio control practices generally include introduction, augmentation and conservation. Microbial cultures are applied either as postharvest sprays or as dip in antagonistic solution. They multiply easily in the soil and leave no residual problem, easy to manufacture and harmless to human beings and animals. These agents not only control the disease but also enhance the root and plant growth by way of encouraging the beneficial soil micro flora and increases crop yield. Biocontrol agents are very easy to handle and apply to the target and can be combined with bio-fertilizers.