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The use of sodium carbonate to improve curing treatments against green and blue moulds on citrus fruits

Plaza, P., Usall, J., Torres, R., Abadias, M., Smilanick, J.L., Vinas, I.
Pest management science 2004 v.60 no.8 pp. 815
oranges, lemons, cold storage, food contamination, Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium italicum, food spoilage, heat treatment, shelf life, storage quality, sodium carbonate, curing (food products), Spain, California
The effectiveness of curing oranges and lemons at 33°C for 65 h followed by storage under ambient and cold-storage conditions was investigated. This treatment effectively reduced the incidence of Penicillium digitatum (Pers) Sacc and P italicum Wehmer decay on inoculated and naturally infected oranges and lemons stored at 20°C for 7 days. However, it failed to control green and blue mould infections on fruits placed in long-term cold storage, except green mould on oranges, which was effectively controlled. Dipping fruits in a sodium carbonate solution (20 g litre-1) for 2.5 min following a curing treatment at 33°C for 65 h satisfactorily reduced green and blue mould incidence during subsequent long-term storage at 4°C on oranges and at 10°C on lemons. The efficacy was greater on injured fruits inoculated after the combination of treatments was applied, achieving a 60-80% reduction in decay in comparison with the curing treatment alone in all cases. A significant reduction of blue mould was also observed on fruits inoculated both before the treatments and on those re-inoculated after the treatments, demonstrating both protectant and eradicant activity. Thus, combining curing at 33°C for 65 h with sodium carbonate treatment effectively controlled these post-harvest diseases on artificially inoculated citrus fruits and protected against re-infection. With naturally inoculated lemons, curing followed by sodium carbonate significantly reduced both green and blue mould incidence, but was not superior to curing alone. With naturally infected oranges, curing significantly reduced blue mould, but decay was not reduced further when followed by sodium carbonate treatment.