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Postharvest biological control agents as a viable alternative to the use of synthetic chemicals have been the focus of considerable research for the last 30 years by many scientists and several commercial companies worldwide. Several antagonists of postharvest pathogens have been identified and tested in laboratory, semi-commercial, and commercial settings and were developed into commercial products. One of the success stories in this field is the development of Metschnikowia fructicola as a commercial product under the commercial trade name “Shemer. This product was developed by Droby’s team at ARO in conjunction with a commercial company, and proved to be effective against a wide range of pre and postharvest diseases of fruits and vegetables. The yeast strain possesses unique features of being heat- and osmotolerant, and proved to successfully colonize plant and fruit surfaces. The progress made in recent years in metagenomic technologies can be exploited to characterize the composition of microbial communities on fruits and vegetables. Information on the dynamics and diversity of microbiota may be useful to developing a new paradigm in postharvest biocontrol that is based on constructing synthetic microbial communities that provide superior control of pathogens.       

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Biological control of postharvest diseases: The Second half of sustainability
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Postharvest biological control agents as a viable alternative to the use of synthetic chemicals have been the focus of considerable research for the last 30 years by many scientists and several commercial companies worldwide. Several antagonists of postharvest pathogens have been identified and tested in laboratory, semi-commercial, and commercial settings and were developed into commercial products. One of the success stories in this field is the development of Metschnikowia fructicola as a commercial product under the commercial trade name “Shemer. This product was developed by Droby’s team at ARO in conjunction with a commercial company, and proved to be effective against a wide range of pre and postharvest diseases of fruits and vegetables. The yeast strain possesses unique features of being heat- and osmotolerant, and proved to successfully colonize plant and fruit surfaces. The progress made in recent years in metagenomic technologies can be exploited to characterize the composition of microbial communities on fruits and vegetables. Information on the dynamics and diversity of microbiota may be useful to developing a new paradigm in postharvest biocontrol that is based on constructing synthetic microbial communities that provide superior control of pathogens.       

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