Hence, pear post-harvest sector is in the urgent need of new sustainable and natural antioxidant and fungicide solutions.
Pears are a highly perishable seasonal product which needs to be picked up before maturation. Once harvested, pears are subjected to a post-harvest treatment and stored in cold chambers under controlled atmosphere to be commercialized in optimal conditions. During the cold storage process the main cause of pear deterioration is the scald. This physiological disorder is provoked by an oxidative process leading to the browning of the pear surface. Although this disorder does not affect the flavour either firmness of the fruit, it makes impossible to market the product due to the unpleasant brown appearance.
Until now, the control of superficial scald has been carried out with chemical synthetic antioxidants such as diphenylamine and ethoxyquin. These antioxidants were applied onto the fruit before the cold storage avoiding the oxidation of certain compounds produced by the fruit as a response to the cold process conservation. However, public concerns about food safety and the use of chemical products have produced a change in the EU legislation leading to the proposal of a new Directive (2009/128/EC) banning the use of the most popular antioxidant, bactericide and fungicide chemical treatments for the pear sector.