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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 7;9(8):e104206. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104206. eCollection 2014.

An antifungal role of hydrogen sulfide on the postharvest pathogens Aspergillus niger and Penicillium italicum.

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  • 1School of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China.
  • 2School of Food Science, Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Xinxiang, China.
  • 3College of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Harbin University of Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Green Chemical Technology of College of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin, China.


In this research, the antifungal role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on the postharvest pathogens Aspergillus niger and Penicillium italicum growing on fruits and under culture conditions on defined media was investigated. Our results show that H2S, released by sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) effectively reduced the postharvest decay of fruits induced by A. niger and P. italicum. Furthermore, H2S inhibited spore germination, germ tube elongation, mycelial growth, and produced abnormal mycelial contractions when the fungi were grown on defined media in Petri plates. Further studies showed that H2S could cause an increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in A. niger. In accordance with this observation we show that enzyme activities and the expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) genes in A. niger treated with H2S were lower than those in control. Moreover, H2S also significantly inhibited the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rhizopus oryzae, the human pathogen Candida albicans, and several food-borne bacteria. We also found that short time exposure of H2S showed a microbicidal role rather than just inhibiting the growth of microbes. Taken together, this study suggests the potential value of H2S in reducing postharvest loss and food spoilage caused by microbe propagation.

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