Active coatings based on oxidized chitin nanocrystals and silk fibroins for the control of anthracnose in ‘Hass’ avocados

Catalina Ferreira Funes, Alejandra Larach, Ximena Besoain, Daniela Duarte Serrano, Caroline Hadad, Romina Pedreschi, Albert Nguyen Van Nhien, Claudia Fuentealba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Postharvest avocado losses are mainly due to anthracnose disease caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Chemical fungicides are effective, but their negative effects on health and the environment have led to the search for sustainable alternatives such as biopolymer-based coatings and natural compounds. Therefore, chitin nanocrystals (NCChit) were extracted using a sustainable deep eutectic solvent (DES) and chemically modified into oxidized chitin nanocrystals (O-NCChit) or deacetylated chitin nanocrystals (D-NCChit) to modulate and increase the charge surface density and the dispersibility of the crystals. The modified NCChits were dispersed with silk fibroins (SF), essential oil (EO), melatonin (MT) and/or phenylalanine (Phe) to elaborate active coatings. Antioxidant and antifungal in vitro analyses showed that the O-NCChit/SF-based coating had the best performance. In addition, in vivo tests were carried out through the artificial inoculation of C. gloeosporioides on coated avocados. O-NCChit/SF/MT-based coatings reduced the severity of anthracnose by 45 %, the same effect as the chemical fungicide (Prochloraz®). Moreover, avocado quality parameters during cold storage and the shelf-life period were also evaluated, where nonsignificant differences were observed. Therefore, this study demonstrates the great potential of O-NCChit and SF in combination with active compounds for the control of anthracnose in ‘Hass’ avocados.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126673
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • Active coating
  • Anthracnose
  • Antioxidant and antifungal properties
  • Chitin nanocrystals
  • Silk fibroins


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