Effects of postharvest onion curing parameters on bulb rot caused byPantoea agglomerans,Pantoea ananatisandPantoea alliiin storage

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Abstract

Crop loss of onion bulbs during storage carries an exceptionally high economic impact because a large portion of the production expenses has been expended before storage. Because of this, it is important to define practices that can reduce onion bulb losses caused by storage rots. This study investigates the impact of various curing parameters on disease development resulting from infection by Pantoea agglomerans, P. ananatis and P. allii on onion bulb cultivars Vaquero and Redwing, during storage. Overall, both the incidence and mean rot severity were similar amongst the bulbs under comparable conditions regardless of the species of Pantoea inoculated, although a significant difference was detected between the two onion bulb cultivars. In addition, a significant reduction of storage rot was observed when curing temperatures were ≤35°C. At temperatures >35°C, a shorter curing duration (2 days vs 14 days) decreased the severity of bulb rot due to Pantoea. This increased understanding of the inter-relationships between the parameters used for curing, and the incidence and severity of bulb rot caused by Pantoea helps provide guidance towards using the curing process as a means to reduce the level of damage resulting from post-harvest storage rot.

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