Fighting Citrus Rot with Acidic Electrolyzed Water

Greg Howard
7th June, 2024

Fighting Citrus Rot with Acidic Electrolyzed Water

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers in Fujian isolated two fungi, Penicillium citrinum and Aspergillus sydowii, causing rot in tangelos
  • Acidic electrolyzed water (AEW) was found to effectively inhibit these fungi, reducing their growth significantly
  • AEW treatment caused physical damage to the fungi, disrupting their cell membranes and leading to cell death
The recent study conducted by researchers at Fujian Forestry Vocational Technical College[1] sheds light on the identification and control of rot-causing fungi in Citrus × tangelo (tangelo). The focus of this research was to isolate and characterize the pathogens responsible for postharvest decay and to evaluate the effectiveness of acidic electrolyzed water (AEW) in inhibiting these pathogens. The team isolated two strains from infected tangelo fruits and identified them as Penicillium citrinum and Aspergillus sydowii through morphological observation and molecular techniques, specifically using primers ITS1 and ITS4. The rDNA-ITS sequences of these pathogens were found to be 100% homologous with known sequences of P. citrinum and A. sydowii, confirming their identity. Pathogenicity tests further validated that these fungi were indeed responsible for the decay observed in tangelo fruits. One of the significant findings of this study was the potent inhibitory effect of AEW on both P. citrinum and A. sydowii. The EC50 values, which indicate the concentration required to inhibit 50% of fungal growth, were 85.4 μg/mL for P. citrinum and 60.12 μg/mL for A. sydowii. Furthermore, the inhibition zones created by 150 μg/mL AEW were over 75 mm in diameter, demonstrating a robust antifungal activity. AEW treatment also induced notable morphological changes in the fungi, such as bending and shrinking of the hyphae surface. This was accompanied by significant increases in extracellular pH, conductivity, and absorbance at 260 nm, indicating cellular damage and disruption of fungal metabolism. These findings align with earlier studies on the effectiveness of AEW in extending the storability and preserving the quality of various fruits. For instance, previous research demonstrated that AEW treatment could enhance the storability and antioxidant activity of blueberries by regulating reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism[2]. Similarly, AEW was shown to maintain the quality and nutritive properties of longans during storage by reducing respiration rate and cell membrane permeability[3]. The current study expands on these findings by showing that AEW can also effectively inhibit specific fungal pathogens responsible for postharvest decay in tangelos. The implications of this research are significant for the agricultural industry, particularly in postharvest management of citrus fruits. By effectively controlling rot-causing fungi, AEW treatment can reduce postharvest losses and extend the shelf life of tangelos, thereby benefiting both producers and consumers. The study also highlights the potential of AEW as a natural and safe alternative to chemical fungicides, which can have adverse environmental and health effects. In conclusion, the research conducted by Fujian Forestry Vocational Technical College provides valuable insights into the use of AEW for controlling postharvest fungal pathogens in tangelos. The potent inhibitory effects of AEW on P. citrinum and A. sydowii, along with its ability to induce morphological changes and disrupt fungal metabolism, underscore its potential as an effective postharvest treatment. This study, together with earlier findings on other fruits, supports the broader application of AEW in enhancing the storability and quality of various horticultural products.

AgricultureBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Isolation and Identification of Postharvest Rot Pathogens in Citrus × tangelo and Their Potential Inhibition with Acidic Electrolyzed Water

Published 6th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Enhanced storability of blueberries by acidic electrolyzed oxidizing water application may be mediated by regulating ROS metabolism.

3) Effects of acidic electrolyzed water treatment on storability, quality attributes and nutritive properties of longan fruit during storage.

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