The ability to produce mycotoxins is found in some fungal pathogens of plants and/or molding agents of food and feed, and has a noteworthy repercussion on the quality and safety of food products. The most prevalent toxigenic fungi on fresh fruits belong to the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and Alternaria, which pose serious mycotoxicological risks essentially in post-harvest and processed food products. Although the ability of these fungi to produce and contaminate fresh and processed fruit with mycotoxins is well established, mostly they are referred to in the pathological context as rot-causing pathogens. In this regard, there is a need to discuss not only postharvest losses attributed to these pathogens, but also the toxic metabolites they produce. The use of microbial antagonists for the control of postharvest pathogens, including mycotoxigenic fungi, is discussed in detail, taking into account the commercial potential and perspectives of the practical application of these biological control agents and their mechanisms of action. Also the pathogenicity factors of postharvest pathogens and the possible role of mycotoxins are presented, with regard to their possible influence on and interaction with the biocontrol agents. Other approaches for the control of postharvest pathogens such as physical (e.g. controlled atmosphere, heat treatment) and chemical control are presented in separate chapters of this book. Their integration with microbial antagonists should also be taken into account. In this chapter, however, integration of biocontrol agents with chemical control only is discussed, while combination of these beneficial microorganisms with controlled atmospheres is still in its infancy.
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