Pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae growing inside onion bulbs emits volatile organic compounds that correlate with the extent of infection

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  • Aimei Wang
  • ,
  • Md. Nahidul Islam
  • ,
  • Anders Johansen
  • Minna Haapalainen, Helsingin yliopisto
  • ,
  • Satu Latvala, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • ,
  • Merete Edelenbos

Diseases develop during the storage of onions. To minimize losses, new methods are needed to identify diseased bulbs early in storage. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the respiration rate, weight loss, and the dry matter content were investigated for 1–7 weeks post inoculation of bulbs with water (control) and two strains (Fox006 or Fox260) of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae. Photos, multispectral image analysis, and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) showed no infection in the control onions, weak pathogenic infection in Fox006-onions, and strong pathogenic infection in Fox260-onions at week 7 post inoculation. Infected bulbs exhibited increased respiration rate, increased VOC emission rate, and increased weight loss. The control and Fox006-onions did not respond to inoculation and had similar reaction pattern. Forty-three different VOCs were measured, of which 17 compounds had sulfur in their chemical structure. 1-Propanethiol, methyl propyl sulfide, and styrene were emitted in high concentrations and were positively correlated with the extent of infection (r = 0.82 – 0.89). Therefore, these compounds were the most promising volatile markers of Fusarium basal rot infection. For the first time, we show that the extent of fungal infection determined by real-time PCR in onion bulbs is related with VOC emission.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPostharvest Biology and Technology
Volume152
IssueJune
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
ISSN0925-5214
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Allium cepa L., Food spoilage, Image analysis, Real-time PCR, Respiration rate, SPME

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