Conclusions

Work conducted on BCPD demonstrates that in some cases biological control alone can provide adequate decay control, but in others it must be integrated with additional control measures. BCPD is compatible with many alternatives to fungicide treatment, can be easily adapted to current postharvest practices, and be used in a cascade system, where each additional control measure further reduces fruit decay. Recent advances in physiological and genetic manipulation of the yeast biocontrol agents and the development of superior antagonist mixtures that led to significant increases in the efficacy of BCPD are only the tip of the iceberg in showing what can be accomplished with the postharvest biocontrol system. They are also indicative that, in the future, there will be additional situations where biocontrol treatment alone will be adequate for the control of postharvest fruit decays. Greater effort is needed to identify circumstances where currently available biocontrol can be used alone. This includes not only replacing a fungicide treatment but also instances where no fungicides are registered for postharvest use and losses due to decay are significant, e.g., Botrytis rot on pomegranates designated for processing. There are an increasing number of situations where a fungicide is registered for postharvest use in the United States but not in other countries, particularly in Europe. This may restrict export markets or increase losses if major decay control measures are not implemented for fruit designated for export. In many of these instances, biological control can be an acceptable treatment. Currently, the European Community is sponsoring a large international project on biological control of postharvest diseases of fruits as an alternative to synthetic fungicide treatment after harvest. Experience with the commercial products for BCPD such as Aspire™, Avogreen™, and BioSave™, indicate that the fruit industry is receptive to the new control measures and will implement them if they provide adequate control, are cost effective and compatible with current postharvest practices. Continuous expansion of postharvest biocontrol research worldwide and the related successes, even in the most challenging areas such as control of latent infections creates an optimistic picture for the future of BCPD of fruits.

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