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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Dynamics of the Apple Fruit Microbiome after Harvest and Implications for Fruit Quality

Bosch, Yvonne; Britt, Elisabeth; Perren, Sarah; Naef, Andreas; Frey, Jurg E.; Buhlmann, Andreas


The contribution of the apple microbiome to the production chain of apple was so far largely unknown. Here, we describe the apple fruit microbiome and influences on its composition by parameters such as storage season, storage duration, storage technology, apple variety, and plant protection schemes. A combined culturing and metabarcoding approach revealed significant differences in the abundance, composition, and diversity of the apple fruit microbiome. We showed that relatively few genera contribute a large portion of the microbiome on fruit and that the fruit microbiome changes during the storage season depending on the storage conditions. In addition, we show that the plant protection regime has an influence on the diversity of the fruit microbiome and on the dynamics of pathogenic fungal genera during the storage season. For the genus Neofabraea, the quantitative results from the metabarcoding approach were validated with real-time PCR. In conclusion, we identified key parameters determining the composition and temporal changes of the apple fruit microbiome, and the main abiotic driving factors of microbiome diversity on apple fruit were characterized.


apple; fruit microbiome; fruit quality; Neofabraea spp

Published in

2021, volume: 9, number: 2, article number: 272
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology
Britt, Elisabeth
Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope
Britt, Elisabeth
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
Perren, Sarah
Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope
Naef, Andreas
Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope
Frey, Jurg E.
Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope
Buhlmann, Andreas
Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification


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