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Postharvest Diseases

Programme Coordinator:

Dr. Wilma du Plooy

Collaborating Researchers:

Catherine Savage, Prof. Cheryl Lennox, Dr. Wilma Augustyn

Research Conducted: 

Research and services on all postharvest diseases, and packaging aspects.  Most specific focus is on green and blue mould, sour rot, anthracnose and stem-end-rots, as summarised below:

Market Access

  • Adherence to permitted MRL levels, which includes science-based debate towards curbing market pressure to apply unsustainable MRL levels.
  • Palletising issues and mycoflora in export containers

Etiology & Diagnosis

  • Investigation of environmental contribution to development of postharvest pathogen complexes
  • Investigation into the phytochemistry of blackspot-susceptible cultivars
  • Characterise variability in pathogen populations
  • Resistance monitoring and improvement of resistance management


  • Study epidemiological aspects that would facilitate improvement of management strategies
  • Study into the effect of shade netting on the epidemiology of postharvest pathogens

Disease Management

  • Formulation and evaluation of management strategies during pre-harvest and post-harvest stages
  • Structuring of pre-harvest spray programmes to reduce inoculum loads on harvested fruit
  • Implementation of strategies to limit fungicide resistance build-up
  • Evaluation of novel and GRAS chemical compounds, and biocontrol agents for postharvest disease control
  • Integration of cold chain management strategies with regard to fruit quality, rind condition, pre- and post-harvest decay management

Inoculum Management

  • Formulation and evaluation of pre- and post-harvest sanitation strategies that would reduce contamination of harvested fruit