Strawberries quickly wither, and the main culprit is a mould of the Botrytis genus. Chinese researchers have recently found a yeast that inhibits this mould, thanks to which strawberries can last longer.
The grey mould Botrytis is always lurking during the cultivation and after the harvest of strawberries. It causes considerable losses in harvest. The Chinese researchers, among whom was Xu Cheng of the Wageningen Molecular Biology chair group, have found a strain of yeast that inhibits the Botrytis. This yeast, Hanseniaspora uvarum, creates volatile organic compounds that damage the mould.
The researchers assessed which of these hydrocarbon compounds inhibit the mould and were able to prove through testing that the yeast inhibited the growth of Botrytis on affected strawberries. Their results were recently published in the journal Food Microbiology. A possible application would be to spray the yeast on harvested strawberries to prolong their shelf life.