Pg. 34-39 Preliminary identification of Penicillium species isolated throughout the litchi export chain from South Africa to distribution centres in the Netherlands and United Kingdom

Penicillium species are among the most common fungal species affecting litchi fruit post-harvest. These species have the ability to colonise almost any surface from fruit to packhouse walls and air conditioning systems. The presence of these spores in storage and transport facilities therefore holds great potential for post-harvest spoilage of fruit and may result in significant economic losses to the exporting fruit industry. During this study, we aim to identify the prominent Penicillium spp. in the litchi export chain from South Africa to the European markets. We were able to identify at least
fourteen different Penicillium spp. throughout the export chain. These species are P. aurantiogriseumP. brevicompactum, P. chrysogenum, P. citreonigrum, P. citrinum, P. corylophilum, P. decumbens, P. expansum, P. fellutanum, P. glabrum, P . janthinellum, P. rugalosum, P. solitum and P. viridicatum. In comparison to previous studies, many of these species identified do not naturally infect and colonise litchi fruit. The wide diversity of species identified during the export chain is an indication of possible cross-contamination occurring within distribution centres.

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