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Physiological and Antagonistic Properties of Pichia kluyveri for Curative and Preventive Treatments Against Post-Harvest Fruit Fungi
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Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Technologies, ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij (The Fruit, Vine and Wine Institute), Agricultural Research Council, South Africa
Bioresource Engineering Research Group (BioERG), Department of Biotechnology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Center of Excellence in Carbon-Based Fuels, School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering, North-West University, Private Bag X1290, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
Heinrich Wilbur Du Plessis   

Bioresource Engineering Research Group (BioERG), Department of Biotechnology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, P.O. Box 652, 8000, Cape Town, South Africa
Submission date: 2021-05-04
Final revision date: 2021-06-18
Acceptance date: 2021-06-23
Online publication date: 2021-07-20
Publication date: 2021-07-20
Postharvest fruit loss due to spoilage is mainly attributed to fungal infections. Synthetic chemicals can be used to preserve fruits, but they are expensive and pose risks to human health. The replacement of these chemicals by safer and cost- effective biocontrol agents is now a priority. This study investigated the physiological characteristics of Pichia kluyveri and its potential use as a biofungicide. The antagonistic effect of P. kluyveri against Botrytis cinerea and Monilinia laxa was tested on yeast peptone dextrose agar, grapes, apples, and pears. Yeast growth was variably possible at different temperatures, pH, and salinity levels. Strain-dependent antagonistic responses were observed on agar plates, where M. laxa was the more sensitive fungus to the antagonistic yeast. P. kluyveri demonstrated strong physiological properties under stressful temperature, pH, and salinity conditions. Preventive applications of P. kluyveri to apples were 95% effective against B. cinerea and 100% effective against M. laxa. Fruit type-dependent responses were evident on pears. Similarly, preventive application on grapes was also effective against the fungal pathogens studied. In general, the antagonistic responses were both fungus- and treatment- (curative and preventive) dependent. Therefore, the preventive use of P. kluyveri against post-harvest fruit-fungal infections proved to be an effective method for biological control of grapes, apples, and pears against fungal spoilage organisms Botrytis cinerea and Monilinia laxa.
This work was supported by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa (Grant Numbers: SFP160505164079 and 117833). The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication is that of the authors alone, and the NRF accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard. The authors thank the students, interns, technicians and research assistants who contributed.
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