Fruit Crops

Post-harvest Decay of Cherries Limited by Saprophytic Yeast

Several postharvest diseases affect sweet cherry, including blue mold (Penecillium expansum) which was found to occurr in 35% of all shipments at the New York terminal market, and brown rot (Monilinia fructicola). Biological control of postharvest diseases has been achieved with various bacteria and yeasts. One such naturally-occurring yeast, Cryptococcus infirmo-miniatus, was investigated for its ability to control decay of sweet cherry either alone or in combination with a fungicide and modified atmosphere packaging.

C. infirmo-miniatus alone did not control brown rot in air-stored cherries, but it did control blue mold, probably because the longer germination time of blue mold conidia allowed the yeast time to grow and colonize wound sites to prevent infection.

A single preharvest application of the fungicide iprodione reduced brown rot, but better control was achieved when cherry fruit were also treated with a postharvest dip in the beneficial yeast suspension. The combination of preharvest fungicide and postharvest biocontrol reduced decay by 88-97%.

Modified atmosphere packaging also reduced brown rot, with the greatest reduction when used in conjunction with treatment with the beneficial yeast. Combining all three treatments in an integrated control strategy reduced brown rot from 41% to less than 1%. This strategy gives excellent decay control during long-term storage and transport of sweet cherry fruit.


Spotts, R. A., L. A. Cervantes, T. J. Facteau, and T. Cand-Goyal. 1998. Control of brown rot and blue mold of sweet cherry with preharvest iprodione, postharvest Cryptococcus infirmo-miniatus, and modified atmosphere packaging. Plant Disease 82(10): 1158-1160.

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