University of California

The epidemiology of fig spoilage


A. E. Davey
Ralph E. Smith

Authors Affiliations

A. E. Davey was Research Assistant in the Experiment Station; Ralph E. Smith was Professor of Plant Pathology and Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 7(13):523-551. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v07n13p523. July 1933.

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The high percentage of spoilage which occurs in figs grown for drying has been the subject of much investigation. It is generally recognized that this trouble originates internally in the hollow, fleshy body of the fig. (fig. 1) while it is still on the tree in an immature state. In California three specific types of spoilage are distinguished by growers and packers of figs. These are popularly designated as “smut and mold,” “souring,” and “endosepsis.” “Smut” is often considered as a distinct disease. All of these are caused by common saprophytic microorganisms which in some manner are able to invade the central cavity of the fruit previous to its maturity. The possibility of control of spoilage in figs is closely tied up with the question of how and when these molds, bacteria, and yeasts get into the fig. Of particular importance is the problem of the relation of insects to the transmission and effects of these organisms.

The disease called endosepsis has not been considered in the present work since its etiology and epidemiology were thoroughly established by Caldis (1927), who showed that this particular type of spoilage affects only caprified (pollinated) figs, that it is caused by the fungus Fusarium moniliforme Sheld., and that it is transmitted exclusively By the figcaprifying (pollen-carrying) insect Blastophaga psenes L. The types of spoilage regarding the transmission of which there is still uncertainty are the others above-mentioned, smut and mold, and souring.

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Davey A, Smith R. 1933. The epidemiology of fig spoilage. Hilgardia 7(13):523-551. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v07n13p523
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