Survey Seeks Input on Fresh Fruit Decay

Ernie Neff Fresh

Florida growers, packers and shippers of fresh fruit are being asked to take a survey that will help guide programs addressing fresh fruit decay. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Mark Ritenour said he’d like as many survey responses as possible by mid-November.

Ritenour said funding has been provided from a Florida Citrus Packers/U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops grant to improve control of fresh citrus fruit decay. The specific objective of this survey is to gather information to guide research and Extension programs to improve decay control and extend shelf life of fresh citrus fruit by:

  • Understanding the different practices Florida fresh citrus growers, packers and shippers currently use
  • Documenting recent commercial experiences related to fresh citrus fruit decay
  • Understanding the most effective means of disseminating new information about decay control to industry

The survey is anonymous and participation is voluntary. Ritenour said survey respondents will “contribute to our knowledge of citrus fruit decay and how you currently manage decay so that we can ultimately develop better control methods that will minimize potential future economic losses.”

Ritenour is a professor of postharvest physiology and handling at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce. He provided a brief summary of the decay problem and the search for solutions: “Traditionally, postharvest fungicides, if used correctly, could usually control postharvest decay. Since HLB has become endemic, we see substantially more cases of fruit decay (especially stem-end rot) starting while the fruit is still hanging on the tree in the field before harvest. If it starts before harvest, we cannot control it with normal postharvest means. We have been working from a Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops grant, through the Florida Citrus Packers, to develop ways to better combat fruit decay. These include both pre- and postharvest methods, testing new materials for control, and potential new methods of handling the fruit (degreening).”

Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

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