Essential thyme oil reduces post-harvest anthracnose in organic bananas

Anthracnose in organic bananas is an aggressive post-harvest disease, which is difficult to control.

"Essential oils have been studied to incorporate them into integrated pest management and reduce the use of synthetic fungicides during the post-harvest period. In vitro analyses showed that thyme oil is the best essential oil to control the mycelial growth of Colletotrichum musae," explain technicians from the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Agro-industry of the 
Escuela Politécnica Nacional di Quito (Ecuador).

This essential oil was tested in vivo due to its fungicidal effect. Results showed that, after storage and shelf-life at 20°C, severity inhibition on bananas treated with 500 μL/L of thyme oil (30.8%) was significantly higher than with other treatments. Moreover, 500 μL/L of thyme oil reduced weight loss, preserved colour and firmness and slowed the changes in chemical parameters in organic bananas during storage.

After the post-harvest period, the panel in charge of assessing the organoleptic qualities of bananas treated with thyme oil did not detect thyme odour and the appearance was considered to be better than that of untreated bananas. These results suggest that thyme oil could be potentially used to control anthracnose in organic bananas during the post-harvest period without a negative impact on their physical, chemical and sensory qualities.

Source: Vilaplana Rosa, Pazmiño Lenin, Valencia-Chamorro Silvia, 'Control of anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum musae, on postharvest organic banana by thyme oil', 2018, Postharvest Biology and Technology, Vol. 138, pag. 56-63.

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