Mold-Free Strawberries? Yes, Please!

How many times have you purchased a package of beautiful, red, ripe strawberries from the grocery store only to have them spoiled by gray fuzz a day or two after you get them home?

That unappetizing fuzz is called gray mold, and it’s caused by the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Other common fungal diseases of strawberry include powdery mildew and anthracnose. These diseases pose big problems for growers, who traditionally apply fungicides to control them. And many fungicides are not even an option for organic producers.

ARS pathologist Wojciech Janisiewicz (left) and horticulturist Fumiomi Takeda observe strawberry plants in the PhylloLux system at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia. They developed a method of applying UV-C irradiation to kill microbes and mites without damaging the plants. Photo by Peggy Greb.

Fortunately, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are on the case, looking for ways to keep strawberries mold free without fungicides.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: USDA ARS