Trends in Food Science & Technology Volume 120, February 2022, Pages 402-417
Worldwide, fruit and vegetable production is permanently affected by many threats including microbial pathogens. Among them, different fungal pathogens cause severe symptoms on fruits in pre- and postharvest. During postharvest, multiple attempts have been made to control the microbial decay of fresh horticultural commodities by using alternatives to synthetic fungicides, which threaten environment and human health. Among these, the use of natural plant products such as plant extracts, essential oils and microbial antagonists has emerged as being the most promising ecological alternative over the last 20 years.
There are more than 250,000 plant species worldwide that could be tested for their volatile molecules or bioactive compounds and their biological activity towards microbial species causing postharvest diseases. However, despite their effects against several phytopathogenic fungi, oomycetes and bacteria, the use of plant extracts and essential oils (EOs) in agriculture remains surprisingly limited.