Microbial Antagonists: New Biocontrol Approach to Control Patulin-producing fungi in fruits during Postharvest storage

G. K. Mahunu


Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by Penicillium expansum, which mostly contaminates stored pome fruit and their-derived products. The excessive exposure to this mycotoxin through consumption of polluted foods poses a serious health hazard. Due to the ethical, technical and health issues in the use of conventional chemicals, various strategies are being explored to control postharvest fungal diseases, which present the use of biocontrol agents as promising alternative method. Several factors (such as pH, temperature and cultivar) have been cited to contribute to contribute to patulin accumulation; whiles other factors inducing or modulating their synthesis are not entirely understood. However, antagonistic biocontrol agents have been found capable of preventing postharvest fungal infections, resisting patulin and degrading it into lesser toxic compounds via different pathways. Apparently, the complex mechanisms of biocontrol are made more effective in antagonistic yeast through the addition of enhancing exogenous compounds. This review discusses the occurrence of patulin in fruit and derived products, possible factors influencing the initiation and accumulation of patulin in fruit, enhancement of biocontrol efficacy of antagonist yeasts and the mechanisms of action in patulin degradation.


Keywords: Patulin, mycotoxins, antagonistic microbes, Penicillium

                  expansum, biocontrol agents.

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