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Photographs of white sinuous or filamentous growth through the fruit or ovary of a papaya:
What is the probable cause and what may be the significance of the white growths throughout the fruit of this papaya? Is this a plant disease, a fungus, or a genetic anomaly? Is this papaya safe to eat?
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Papaya White Growth or "Disease" Photographs
[Click to enlarge any image]
Shown here are photographs of a white fibrous growth throughout the normally-edible portion of the fruit of a papaya plant.
We have asked for opinions from experts on the papaya plant to address the following six questions. Readers and papaya experts are invited to CONTACT US with comments or suggestions.
What is this white growth?
Is it fungal, is it a plant disease, or is it a genetic disorder or aberration?
Above we see fairly typical papaya seeds in the center of this fruit, and in our second photo we see rather obvious indication that the white fibrous growth that permeates the normally pure orange fruit of the papaya ovary wall is emanating from the white liner or lactifer (latex ducts) to which seeds are attached and from which they are formed.
What are the causes of this papaya "disease"?
Is this papaya safe to eat?
Are there external symptoms on a papaya fruit that might indicate the presence of this papaya disorder?
Is there something else we should ask about this papaya and its edibiltiy?
Other observations about this specific papaya shown above included a sticky surface on the fruit's exterior and a bit of (rather typical) mould growing at the fruit's base. I could but did not bother to identify this fungus as it is entirely common on other papayas in the marketplace and from its location and compared with the internal growths we document above, I did not see an obvious connection between the fungus and the problem under discussion.
Typically I find species of Aspergillus sp. or sometimes Penicillium sp. in these white mould deposits and on occasion one finds one of the mildews present. For example see CACTUS, NOPAL PRICKLY PEAR MOLD.
And under the microscope we see the fibrous growth and no obvious fungal material in the papaya flesh.
White Fibrous Papaya Growth Diagnosis & Comments
Thanks for your query regarding the flesh disorder of papaya which was forwarded to our pathology group in North Queensland, Australia. The group has seen and is not aware of similar symptoms occurring in Australian produced fruit. After looking at all the images we agree with Daniel that the disorder is not related to any disease.
It appears that something has affected the laticifers (latex ducts) or the vascular material resulting in an aberration of the tissue. It is difficult to determine the actual cause without having knowledge of the growing conditions, variety, field and postharvest treatments, incidence and severity (eg. one fruit on one plant). One way to determine if it is specifically the laticifers that are affected would be touch the surface of freshly cut fruit and feel if it is sticky. - Kathy Grice, Senior Experimentalist, Horticulture and Forestry Science, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mareeba, Queensland Australia [by private email] 2016/06/22
Research on Diseases of the Papaya Plant & Fruit
Andersen, M. T., J. Longmore, L. W. Liefting, G. A. Wood, P. W. Sutherland, D. L. Beck, and R. L. S. Forster. "Phormium yellow leaf phytoplasma is associated with strawberry lethal yellows disease in New Zealand." Plant Disease 82, no. 6 (1998): 606-609.
Ayoola, P. B., and A. Adeyeye. "Phytochemical and nutrient evaluation of Carica papaya (pawpaw) leaves." IJRRAS 5, no. 3 (2010): 325-328.
Chukwuka, K. S., I. O. Okonko, and A. A. Adekunle. "Microbial ecology of organisms causing pawpaw (Carica papaya L.) fruit decay in Oyo State, Nigeria." American-Eurasian Journal of Toxicological Sciences 2, no. 1 (2010): 43-50.
Da Silva, JA Teixeira, Zinia Rashid, Duong Tan Nhut, Dharini Sivakumar, Abed Gera, Manoel Teixeira Souza Jr, and Paula F. Tennant. "Papaya (Carica papaya L.) biology and biotechnology." Tree and Forestry Science and Biotechnology 1, no. 1 (2007): 47-73.
Firrao, G., K. Gibb, and C. Streten. "Short taxonomic guide to the genus'Candidatus Phytoplasma'." Journal of Plant pathology (2005): 249-263.Maktar, N. H., S. Kamis, F. Z. Mohd Yusof, and N. H. Hussain. "Erwinia papayae causing papaya dieback in Malaysia." Plant Pathology 57, no. 4 (2008): 774-774.
Macalood, J. S., H. J. Vicente, J. G. Gorospe, R. D. Boniao, and E. C. Roa. "Revisiting Carica papaya L. latex potentials may resolve agricultural infestation problems." International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research 3, no. 1 (2014): 95-8.
Abstract: Infestation problems are among the top concerns of many farmers worldwide. The use of synthetic pesticides as one of the pest control
methods had been employed which caused many negative impacts both in the environment and human health. Effectivity of synthetic pesticides is only
short-term which cannot compel for its undesirable impacts. Researches investigating plant potentials as an alternate pesticide for pest control were
suggested as a promising solution without sacrificing the environment and its components. Carica papaya L. latex is known to contain a lot of
phytochemicals including papain, a cysteine proteinase thought to effectively involved in plant defense against herviborous insects, mollusc, fungi and
other farm pests. Hence, this review summarizes the C. papaya L. latex potentials as pesticide, molluscicide and fungicide in order to pave the way for
an alternate pests control without damaging the components of the ecosystem and environment.
Maktar, N. H., S. Kamis, F. Z. Mohd Yusof, and N. H. Hussain. "Erwinia papayae causing papaya dieback in Malaysia." Plant Pathology 57, no. 4 (2008): 774-774.
Ortega, Monica Moralma Garces, "Effect of proteolytic enzyme and fiber of papaya fruit on human digestive health." PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011.
Persley, Denis M., and Randy C. Ploetzz. "1 7 Diseases of Papaya." Diseases of Tropical Fruit Crops (2003): 373.
Rampersad, Sephra N. "Molecular and phenotypic characterization of Colletotrichum species associated with anthracnose disease of papaya in Trinidad." Plant Disease 95, no. 10 (2011): 1244-1254.
Singh, S. K., P. K. Jha, and P. K. Ray. "Papaya diseases in Bihar: an overview." In II International Symposium on Papaya 851, pp. 481-486. 2008.
Streten, C., and K. S. Gibb. "Phytoplasma diseases in sub-tropical and tropical Australia." Australasian Plant Pathology 35, no. 2 (2006): 129-146.
Vawdrey, L. L., K. R. E. Grice, and D. Westerhuis. "Field and laboratory evaluations of fungicides for the control of brown spot (Corynespora cassiicola) and black spot (Asperisporium caricae) of papaya in far north Queensland, Australia." Australasian Plant Pathology 37, no. 6 (2008): 552-558.
Vawdrey, L. L., K. E. Grice, R. A. Peterson, and J. De Faveri. "The use of metalaxyl and potassium phosphonate, mounds, and organic and plastic mulches, for the management of Phytophthora root rot of papaya in far northern Queensland." Australasian Plant Pathology 33, no. 1 (2004): 103-107.
Vawdrey, L. L., K. E. Grice, and R. A. Peterson. "7.3 The Use of Mounds and Organic and Plastic Mulches for the Management of Phytophthora Root Rot of Papaya in Northern Queensland." [PDF] Diversity and Management of Phytophthora in Southeast Asia: 167. Retrieved 2016/07/04, original source https://core.ac.uk/download/files/153/6693118.pdf#page=166
Abstract: Options for the control of root rot of papaya caused by Phytophthora palmivora were evaluated in a
field experiment in northerly parts of Queensland, Australia. In the experiment, growing papaya
on 0.75 m mounds reduced the incidence of root rot by 38.4% and significantly increased fruit yield.
Soil covers of 2 m wide plastic mulch and organic mulch, in combination with 0.75 m mounds,
further reduced plant losses by 20 and 10%, respectively. Plastic mulch on flat ground was as
effective as the mounded treatments in reducing the incidence of root rot and increasing yield.
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Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA
http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
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