Background: Fruits and vegetables are susceptible to colonisation by undesired microflora, which, in pre- and post-harvest conditions, negatively impact the quality of these products, leading to a reduction of yield, shelf-life, and marketability. In the few last years, the use of microbial Biological Control Agents (BCAs) has assumed international relevance in order to control harmful microorganisms, as a promising alternative to chemical interventions.
Objective: The purpose of this review is to discuss the microbial-based solutions applicable for the biocontrol of the main microbial spoilers, phytopathogens, and human food-borne pathogens affecting fruits and vegetables during their production and storage.
Results: A comprehensive overview of the scientific literature investigating the effectiveness of BCA-based products available on the market is provided, as well as of the most recent patents protecting biotechnological applications in this field. Innovative trends are discussed, with a particular focus on the integration of BCAs to minimise spoilage phenomena and microbiological risks adopting combined approaches.
Conclusion: This study underlines the growing interest about biocontrol strategies to counteract the growth of spoilage and/or pathogenic microorganisms indicating that in the next years a considerable increase of commercial products and patents will be developed worldwide to exploit innovative biotechnological solutions in the sector.