Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) radiation is efficient in reducing the development of diseases in many species, including strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa). Several studies suggest that UV-C radiation is effective not only because of its disinfecting effect but also because it may stimulate plant defenses.
In a new study, the effect of preharvest UV-C radiation applied during strawberry cultivation on plant growth, fruit quality, and susceptibility to major fungal diseases such as gray mold, powdery mildew, and soft rot was evaluated.
UV-C treatments had an impact on flowering initiation and fruit development. Flowering occurred earlier for UV-C-treated plants than for nontreated plants. At harvest, a larger amount of fruit was produced by treated plants despite their slight decrease in leaf area. UV-C treatment did not improve strawberry shelf life but did not alter the physical integrity of strawberry fruit. Natural infection of leaves to powdery mildew and of fruit to Rhizopus spp. strongly decreased in response to UV-C treatment.
Access the full study at APS.