Oranges are susceptible to fungal attack and growth. Although oranges are one of the fruits that have a good shelf life, after sometime they start to ripen and attract fungus towards them. The bluish green ring that starts to appear around the flesh of oranges which makes the oranges reek is basically the colony of growing fungus.
Fungi are plant like eukaryotes which cannot make their own food; hence they are placed in a separate kingdom of living things. They exist in many various form and can grow anywhere and under any condition. From living things to non livings, from food items to bathroom curtains and to building walls, fungi are found everywhere. Based on their mode of habitats and living conditions, fungi are classified into different classes and families. Citri fungi are a type of fungi that specifically attack citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. These fungi can attack the entire plant of these fruits, inhibiting or damaging their growth or stored citrus fruits that are beginning to ripe. A ripening fruit usually becomes a home for fungi as such a fruit becomes weak and moist giving the fungi the most perfect conditions to grow in.
The Citri fungi family is quite large and includes many different fungi that differ in their severity of damage caused to the fruit. In oranges the most common Citri fungi are Diplodia, Botrytis, Alternaria, Diaporthe, Colletotrichum and molds. The fungus that usually attacks stored oranges are molds forming large greenish blue rings on the flesh. Alternaria citri, Diaporthe citri, botrytis and Diplodia are very popular fungi that grow on the oranges that are still growing or attached to their plants. Alternaria may also affect stored oranges. This fungus grows uniquely on the fruit in such a way that it grows inwards from the central axis of the fruit growing outward without causing any apparent symptom. If this fungus attacks a stored orange then the orange becomes very dangerous if ingested. Colletotrichum is a very common fungus that grows on the orange tree. After attacking the twigs of the plant, the fungus attacks the fruit and forms greenish red spots on the flesh eventually destroying the fruit. Diaporthe is another popular orange fungus that attacks oranges while they are still attached to their plants, causing dark brown spots on the flesh of the fruit and causing a disease called as melanose. Botrytis attacks the newly growing oranges, inhibiting their growth.
Though a fungal attack on anything seems inevitable and anything that is stored for a longer period of time is eventually attacked by fungi the best that you can do to save your stored oranges from citri fungi is to keep your oranges in a cold environment such as a refrigerator. This will increase the shelf life of your oranges. To prevent fungi from attacking your oranges while they are still growing in their trees and to save your orange plant you should spray fungicides on your plant so that fungus cannot grow on it.
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