This project brings together two parallel research programs for collaboration — one in Sri Lanka using natural coating and herbal extracts and another in Hawaii to use natural epiphytic microorganisms to control postharvest diseases.
Essential oils are complex volatile compounds produced in various higher plant parts such as leaves, flowers, bark and roots. Volatile compounds from plants can inhibit the growth of fungal pathogens and evaporate without leaving residues, while being considered benign from a health perspective. Epiphytic microorganisms isolated from papaya fruit are being evaluated for their ability to control postharvest disease by their actions as antagonistic microorganisms to pathogens. This research follows from successful isolation of a yeast for pineapple postharvest disease control.
Led by Robert Paull at the University of Hawaii, this international team works to develop and evaluate a biological-based, non-toxic, environmentally suitable approach for postharvest disease control. The output from this project provides an alternative postharvest disease control approach to fungicide in conventional and organic mango and papaya production. The technology developed in this research is introduced to extension officers via workshops held at the Vidhatha centers in Sri Lanka.