Research project Identification of the problem and management of the fruitrot fungus Mucor in strawberry

In progress MUCOR
Strawberries

Contact our expert

Main research question

In strawberry the harmful plant fungus Mucor has been showing up. A sharp increase in the number of reports has been observed in recent years. Mucor infections in the worst form lead to the loss of firmness of the flesh during ripening on the plant, to the extent that the fruit becomes detached from the calyx and splits open when falling to the ground. But usually the fruit rot symptoms become visible only after a few days in storage, at the auctions or only later in the stores. With this MUCOR project ILVO wants to clarify the problem in practice: which Mucor species occur in Flanders?

There is currently no knowledge of which chemical agents or non-chemical alternatives are effective against Mucor fruit rot. With this VLAIO project, the project partners, proefcentrum Hoogstraten, pcfruit and ILVO, aim for and together with the strawberry growers to draw up an 'Integrated Pest Management' (IPM) based control strategy for Mucor for the different cultivation systems, so that the shelf life of the strawberries can be restored.

There is currently no knowledge of which chemical agents or non-chemical alternatives are effective against Mucor fruit rot. With this VLAIO project, the project partners, proefcentrum Hoogstraten, pcfruit and ILVO, aim to develop - for and together with the strawberry growers - an 'Integrated Pest Management' (IPM) based control strategy for Mucor for the different cultivation systems, so that the shelf life of the strawberries can be restored.

Research approach

In addition to an inventory of Mucor varieties present, the project plans trials in order to (i) demonstrate the susceptibility or not to Mucor in the main strawberry varieties, (ii) identify the susceptible crop stages to infection by Mucor, (iii) select chemical and alternative methods/means of control or eradication of Mucor, (iv) establish and demonstrate an IPM control strategy against Mucor (This approach will need to be integrated into the current broader control strategy towards fruit rot fungi), (v) update the advisory card describing agents efficient in the control of fruit rot.

Relevance/Valorization

Through the strawberry information services, the strategy developed in this project will be implemented in practice and the project results should result in a clear decrease in the number of Mucor notifications at the auctions. The anticipated economic impact will be achieved through better quality and, in combination with this, through increased confidence in the Flemish strawberry trade. The more conscious and targeted implementation of treatments via an IPM-based strategy contributes to responsible fungicide use and avoids increasing residue on the fruit.