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Effect of benzyl isothiocyanate on tomato fruit infection development by Alternaria alternata

Troncoso-Rojas, R., Sanchez-Estrada, A., Ruelas, C., Garcia, H.S., Tiznado-Hernandez, M.E.
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2005 v.85 no.9 pp. 1427-1434
tomatoes, postharvest diseases, Alternaria alternata, benzyl isothiocyanate, disease control, antifungal properties, postharvest treatment, postharvest physiology, cell respiration, ethylene production, food storage
Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) is known to be a strong antifungal compound in vitro against different fungi. The effectiveness of benzyl isothiocyanate to control Alternaria alternata growth in vitro and in vivo was tested. BITC in vitro activity was evaluated in A alternata growing on potato dextrose agar and exposed to 0.025, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2 or 0.4 mg ml(-1). In vivo activity was evaluated by exposing A alternata-inoculated tomato fruits for either 18 or 36 h to 0.28 or 0.56 mg ml(-1) BITC packed on low-density polyethylene film (LDPF) bags. Additionally, the effect of BITC on post-harvest physiology and tomato quality throughout storage at 20 degrees C was evaluated daily by monitoring respiration rate and ethylene production, whereas total soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity and fresh weight loss were measured every 3 days. Results showed that the minimal inhibitory concentration of BITC in vitro was 0.1 mg ml(-1). A combined use of 0.56 mg ml(-1) BITC with LDPF for 18 h was the optimum treatment to control Alternaria rot in packed tomato fruit. No effect of BITC on respiration rate, ethylene production, total soluble solids, pH, weight loss and titratable acidity was observed. Results suggest that BITC can be used as a post-harvest treatment to control Alternaria rot in tomato fruit without detrimental effects on the tomato post-harvest quality.