October 19, 2018

Penicillium expansum causing blue mold disease

Spoilage of fruits can occur before or after harvest during subsequent handling and it takes on great economic importance the closer it is to the sale of the fruit. Postharvest losses in apple are mainly caused by fungal pathogens that limit the extension of storage life of fruit.

Penicillium expansum (Link) Thom. is one of the most important postharvest pathogens of apple fruit worldwide. It causes blue mold, a decay that can lead to significant economic losses during storage, which can also impact fruit destined for processing.. P. expansum has been shown, on apple fruit, to produce carcinogenic mycotoxin patulin patulin, a mutagenic, inmunotoxic, and neurotoxic mycotoxin.

“Blue mold” is a common term used to describe several species of Penicillium that cause postharvest decay of important fruit crops because visible sporulation on infected fruits is blue green in color.

P. expansum is generally considered to be a wound parasite, and infection commonly follows rough handling and washing procedures after harvest. P. expansum infects fruit primarily through wounds caused by stem punctures or bruises occurring at harvest or during postharvest handling. The fungus can also enter the fruit through natural openings, i.e. lenticels, stem ends and the calyx end.

The fungus is a typical postharvest pathogen as it can establish infection even below 0°C. Although decay proceeds slowly at cold storage temperatures, rapid development ensues when the fruit is transferred to a warm environment. The optimal conditions of growth are temperatures ranging between25 and 35°C and a pH wide range: from 2 to 10.
Penicillium expansum causing blue mold disease
Penicillium expansum

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