Small fruits are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, and are economically important in many other countries. However, they are perishable and susceptible to physiological disorders and biological damage. Food safety and fruit quality are the major concerns of the food chain from farm to consumer, especially with increasing regulations in recent years. At present, the industry depends on pesticides and fungicides to control food spoilage organisms. However, due to consumer concerns and increasing demand for safer produce, efforts are being made to identify eco-friendly compounds that can extend the shelf life of small fruits. Most volatiles and essential oils produced by plants are safe for humans and the environment, and lots of research has been conducted to test the in vitro efficacy of single-compound volatiles or multi-compound essential oils on various microorganisms. However, there are not many reports on their in vivo (in storage) and In situ (in the field) applications. In this review, we discuss the efficacy, minimum inhibitory concentrations, and mechanisms of action of volatiles and essential oils that control microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) on small fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes under the three conditions.
Keywords: bacteria; blackberry; blueberry; essential oils; food borne pathogens; food safety; fungi; grape; plant extracts; postharvest diseases; raspberry; small fruits; strawberry.