Research Focuses on Protecting Organic Fruit

Scientists at Washington State University received a $1.5 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative to find ways to protect organic fruits from decay and illness-causing pathogens. A team of scientists and students, including food safety and postharvest systems specialists, will test promising technologies using heat and controlled atmosphere in storage, as well as fruit coatings and sprays, to limit infection and preserve organic fruit quality. Project leader Achour Amiri notes that organic packers currently lack effective methods to stop postharvest pathogens and physiological disorders.