Biological control of postharvest disease of fruits and vegetables by antagonistic microorganisms appears as a promising strategy to replace or integrate synthetic fungicides. Yeasts, including yeastlike fungi, are considered the most suitable microorganisms for postharvest use. In our laboratory researches on the selection of yeasts from aerial parts of different crops growing in southern Italy are in progress. Among the most frequently isolated microrganisms Aureobasidium pullulans, Metschnikowia pulcherrima, Rhodotorula spp., Cryptococcus spp. and Candida spp. showed a higher antagonistic activity against postharvest pathogens. However, to optimize the selection and utilization of these antagonists we need to find suitable techniques both for their characterization and monitoring. In this regard, the use of PCR (polimerase chain reaction)-based techniques represents a reliable and time-saving methodology. The aim of this paper was to characterize by RAPD (random amplified polymorphic DNA)-PCR several isolates of the yeasts more frequently detected on fruits and vegetables. DNA from these organisms was amplified using arbitrary oligonucleotide primers. Some of the tested primers generated electrophoretic profiles showing different degrees of genetic polymorphism among species and strains. This genetic diversity represents a useful pre-requisite to develop suitable tools for rapid identification and monitoring of the potential antagonists living on fruits and vegetables.
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