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Ongoing project

Internal fruit rot of capsicum (VG17012)

Key research provider: Applied Horticultural Research

What’s it all about?

Beginning in late 2019, this investment is investigating the causes behind internal fruit rot in capsicums and developing management techniques for growers to both prevent infection and minimise the risk of sending damaged fruit to market.  Ultimately, this project aims to deliver capsicum growers with an integrated disease management strategy to control internal rot, as well as developing a predictive model that will help growers identify crops at risk and diagnose infection early.

Internal fruit rot can be a significant issue for capsicum growers, as although infection occurs during flowering, the disease can remain latent in the fruit until it starts to ripen. Once capsicums are harvested, development can accelerate, with fungal growth spreading into the seed and the edible flesh. As the disease cannot be detected externally, infected fruit can be sent to market resulting in waste and loss of consumer confidence. Several different fungi can cause the disease, including species of Fusarium and Alternaria, however it is unclear which are the primary organisms that are responsible for this disease in Australia.

Initial work has focused on isolating and identifying the organism(s) responsible for causing the disease. Infected flowers and fruit have been collected from around Sydney as well as Warwick and Bundaberg in Queensland. A number of different Fusarium and Alternaria species have been isolated and cultured.

Four of the strains found so far are now being inoculated onto flowers of four different varieties of capsicum plants. The fruit will be allowed to develop to full (red) maturity, then assessed for presence of internal rots.


Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund