F. Fallanaj1, S.M. Sanzani1,
C. Zavanella2 and A. Ippolito1. 1Dipartimento di Biologia e
Chimica Agro-forestale ed Ambientale, Università degli Studi “Aldo
Moro”, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy.
Electrolysis has recently gained particular attention in the
food industry as a novel technology for preventing fruit infection
in the postharvest environment. Furthermore, the application of
electrolyzed oxidizing (EO) water as alternative to chemical
fungicides against fruit spoilage gave also promising results. The
present investigation was carried out to evaluate the potential application
of electrolysis in reducing the main postharvest rots of
citrus fruits. Preliminary laboratory-scale trials with wash water
from different packing houses were performed. The water was
added with a conidial suspension of Penicillium digitatum (105
CFU/ml) and subjected to electrolysis. Microbiological evaluation
of P. digitatum vitality in orange fruit wash water showed
nearly 100% inhibition of spore germination after 30 min, whereas,
the complete suppression of the fungal population in lemon
wash water was observed after 15 min of electrolysis. On the basis
of these preliminary results, further trials were conducted in
two packing houses located in Sicily (insular Italy). During the
commercial trials, fruits were dipped in electrolyzed water to
evaluate its ability to prevent infections during storage and shelflife.
Treatment of wounded fruits with electrolyzed water compared
with tap water, reduced the incidence of infection by 70%
after 15 days storage at room temperature. These results suggest
that the application of electrolysed water in conventional postharvest
treatments may increase citrus fruit shelf-life, particularly
given the current need for alternatives in the global context of organic
and integrated disease management strategies.