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Food Bioscience
2020, 100840

Plant extracts and other natural compounds as alternatives for post-harvest management of fruit fungal pathogens: A review

Neliswa A.Matrosea,b, Kenechukwu Obikezeb, Zinash A.Belaya, Oluwafemi J.Caleba,c

Agri-Food Systems & Omics Laboratory, Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Technologies (PHATs), Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa.


Over the years, post-harvest management strategies of fungal pathogens have depended on the aggressive usage of synthetic chemicals (fungicides). This conduct has been reported to have a negative environmental impact, cause potential harm to humans due to exposure to residues, and increase the risk of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms resistant. These emphasises the need for safe and effective alternative treatments capable of preventing fruit infections and maintaining quality in order to minimize post-harvest losses. Ethno-pharmacological assessments of various plant extracts and other natural compounds such as active metabolites and enzymes produced by microorganisms have shown potential as fungi-static and/or -cidal agents against fruit pathogens. This review provides an overview on: the mechanisms and action of fruit pathogens and the existing synthetic fungicides and biological controls strategies. The potentials of plant extracts as alternative control was discussed with emphasises on the phyto-chemistry of selected plant extracts with high efficacy against fruit pathogens in order to gain insight into their bioactive compounds. In addition, the implication of extensive spatial scale application of synthetic fungicides leading to fungal resistance was discussed and the importance of synergistic use of natural compound were addressed. Challenges associated with upscaling plant extracts and other natural compounds from lab scale and commercialization were highlighted.

Keywords: Bioactive compounds, Microbial safety, Fungicidal, Fruit quality, Thermal treatment, Crude plant extracts.

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