Humanity faces the challenge of having to increase food production to feed an exponentially growing world population, while crop diseases reduce yields to levels that we can no longer afford. Besides, a significant amount of waste is produced after fruit harvest. Fruit decay due to diseases at a post-harvest level can claim up to 50% of the total production worldwide. Currently, the most effective means of disease control is the use of pesticides. However, their use post-harvest is extremely limited due to toxicity. The last few decades have witnessed the development of safer methods of disease control post-harvest. They have all been included in programs with the aim of achieving integrated pest (and disease) management (IPM) to reduce pesticide use to a minimum. Unfortunately, these approaches have failed to provide robust solutions. Therefore, it is necessary to develop alternative strategies that would result in effective control. Exploiting the immune capacity of plants has been described as a plausible route to prevent diseases post-harvest. Post-harvest-induced resistance (IR) through the use of safer chemicals from biological origin, biocontrol, and physical means has also been reported. In this review, we summarize the successful activity of these different strategies and explore the mechanisms behind. We further explore the concept of priming, and how its long-lasting and broad-spectrum nature could contribute to fruit resistance.
- fruit decay
- integrated pest management (IPM)
- post-harvest diseases
- induced resistance