About this Research Topic
Fruit are highly beneficial for human health and their consumption is largely encouraged and constantly increasing. Major losses in fruit production occur in post-harvest stage during shelf life, when produce achieve highest economic value. Fungicides applications in field and during post-harvest handling are strictly regulated and only few agrochemicals are allowed for the post-harvest treatment, making difficult to control fruit rots.
Even if symptoms appear when fruit are ripe, most infections occur earlier, during flowering or during early stages of fruit development. This is because post-harvest pathogenic fungi generally adopt necrotrophic strategies to infect fruit, and immature fruits are less prone to this type of infection. However, hemibiotrophic infections can be established in non-mature fruits and remain quiescent. In this latter instance, fungal pathogens can adopt particular biotrophic strategies where the fungus reduce its metabolism and become quiescent on low susceptibility host, or during wound healing conditions of the host. The change in susceptibility of fruit in different developmental stages is probably the result of fruit ripening and senescence. The pathogens activate the colonization process when they perceive the fruit metabolic changes of ripening stage. Then fungi restore growth and activate necrotrophic tissues invasion, leading to quick fruit decay. Thus, the interaction between fungal pathogens and the fruit can last for long time before symptoms appear and can be very complex.
In the last decade much effort has been made in the dissection of the complex molecular bases of the infection strategy of different fungal pathogens and of fruit responses. Important knowledge has been achieved, especially through simultaneous analyses of fungal and fruit transcriptomes. Still, the mechanisms behind the so-called ontogenic resistance of the fruit and at the basis of the infection strategies and quiescence of fruit fungal pathogens are not completely understood, and we are far from having a complete picture of fruit-fungi interaction. Clearly, this knowledge can have significant economic impact by improving fruit storage, commercialization and shelf life, increasing the efficacy of treatments and suggesting new ways to avoid fruit rot.
This Research Topic aims to collect the most recent advances on the strategies put in place by necrotrophic or hemiobiotrophic pathogens, e.g. Botrytis, Monilinia, Colletotrichum, Penicillium, Neofabrea, Alternaria, Mucor, Rhizopus, Trichotecium etc. to infect fruits of different crops and on the defense response of the fruit during its development or during post-harvest.
Research articles on the fungal virulence mechanisms, as well as analysis of both fruit and fungal molecular elements regulating quiescence initiation and maintenance, and growth recovery after quiescence, are welcome. Similarly, original studies on the epidemiology of fruit fungal diseases or new solutions for fruit disease control based on recent knowledge of the mechanisms of action will be of particular interest for publication. Reviews summarizing the current state of knowledge on this topic are also welcome.
Keywords: Fruit Ripening, Fruit Pathogenic Fungi, Fungal Quiescence, Postharvest Fruit Rot, Fruit Disease Control
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