DARWIN participates in a project on fungal biocontrol in citrus farming

Approximately 45% of fruit and vegetable production is lost due to quality defects and decay. In the POSTHARVESTLIFE project, we are working to develop new biocontrol strategies against the fungi Penicillium digitatum, the cause of green rot in citrus fruits, and Galactomyces citri-aurantii, which causes sour rot in citrus fruits and other vegetables.


These innovative strategies are based on the use of certain microorganisms that have the unique ability to inhibit the growth of the mentioned fungi, which cause significant losses during fruit postharvest. But where are these microorganisms found? We have isolated them from the microbiota present on the peel of citrus fruits, and their fungicidal activity is being validated in vivo.


This will allow the development of an integrated control system that completely replaces the current chemical fungicides during citrus postharvest, as the traditional control treatment for both fungi has so far been based on synthetic fungicides. However, these have negative repercussions on human health and the environment, and there are increasingly strains resistant to the main fungicides used. Thus, the use of these natural agents (which will be appropriately stabilized to maintain their viability) will revolutionize the advancement of treatment not only for citrus fruits but also for other fruits and vegetables with similar issues.


POSTHARVESTLIFE is a project funded by the European Union and the Valencian Agency of Innovation with a budget of €747,766.5. The ambitious objectives set will be achieved through the collaboration of DARWIN, as a business representative in the biotechnology sector and project coordinator; IATA-CSIC, as a technological institute specialized in agri-food; FRUTINTER, as a large company specializing in the production, packaging, and wholesale of fruits and vegetables; and AINIA, as a technological center that provides comprehensive innovation and technology solutions to the agri-food sector.