U.S.: fungi control could extend cranberry shelf life

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U.S.: fungi control could extend cranberry shelf life

A researcher at Washington State University Mount Vernon hopes to extend the cranberry season beyond the U.S. fall and winter holidays.Caruso-300

Adjunct professor Frank Caruso is investigating the role fungi species play in producing fruit rot to avoid losses in the field and in storage.

Samples from six southwest Washington planting beds have been provided, three for berries sold fresh and three for those sold for canning.

The research will follow fungi growth during the berries' development and ripening from August to November.

"What I’m finding so far are significant differences in fungal populations in all six beds," he said in a media statement.

"One fungus I’m finding a lot of, that is not a major player on the East Coast, is Colletotrichum acutatum, which is a major pathogen of numerous fruit crops."

The fungi identified will be correlated with growers’ fungicide applications to determine what changes may need to be made.

"We know that Abound fungicide works well on Colletotrichum acutatum. But there’s another strain – or perhaps a different species – that I’m having analyzed right now; I’m finding it at higher levels in the fresh fruit beds," he said.

Caruso will be investigating the significance of this strain over coming months to prove if it causes fruit rot.

The research has been funded by a one-year grant through the nonprofit Cranberry Institute and Ocean Spray food company.


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