F. Nigro, A. Ippolito, V. and Lattanzio, D. Di Venere, M. Salerno
doi: 10.4454/jpp.v82i1.1142
The effect of ultraviolet-C light (u.v.-C) at low doses on postharvest decay of strawberries caused by Botrytis cinerea and other pathogens was investigated. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activity and ethylene production, as influenced by ultraviolet-C irradiation, were also determined. Strawberries (cv. ‘Pajaro’) from plants that had been treated with chemicals against grey mould were irradiated with u.v.-C doses ranging from 0.25 to 4.00 kJ m-2 and inoculated with B. cinerea at different times (0, 12, 24 and 48 hours) after irradiation. To assess the effect of u.v.-C light on the naturally occurring postharvest decay, organically grown strawberries were also used. After treatment the strawberries were stored at 20±1°C or at 3°C. u.v.-C doses at 0.50 and 1.00 kJ m-2 significantly reduced botrytis storage rot arising from both artificial inoculations and natural infections in comparison with the unirradiated control. The doses shown to reduce botrytis rot produced an increase in PAL activity 12 h after irradiation; this result indicates the activation of metabolic a pathway related to the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds, which are usually characterized by antifungal activity. In addition, u.v.-C irradiation caused an increase in ethylene production proportional to the doses applied, reaching the highest value 6 h after treatment. The overall results from these investigations indicate that treatment with low u.v.-C doses produces a reduction in postharvest decay of strawberries related to induced resistance mechanisms. Moreover, a germicidal effect of reducing external contaminating pathogens cannot be excluded.