Controlling scab is important for the production of apple in a humid environment. Apple scab is a disease that can negatively impact the quality of fruit, reducing its size in some cases, or affecting the time the fruit can be kept in storage. In order to deal with it, copper is highly effective, however, due to the European Union regulations, only a small quantity of copper can be used.
The other option is sulphur and lime sulphur. Sulphur, even though its usage is allowed, is not as effective as copper with dealing with fruit diseases. A small quantity of copper is equivalent to large amount of sulphur. Large amounts of sulphur can pave the way for other environmental damage as it has phytotoxic side effects and can reduce fruit quality.
In order to prevent adverse effects in environment and human health, using natural substances as fungicide is a more feasible option. Studies claim that Bicarbonate salts such as Potassium Bicarbonate can serve as an ideal alternative to synthetic chemical fungicide and can control fruit diseases. Potassium bicarbonate (also known as potassium hydrogen carbonate or potassium acid carbonate) is a White Crystalline Powder, odourless, slightly basic, salty substance with a chemical formula of KHCO3. It is produced when carbon dioxide is passed through an aqueous solution of potassium carbonate.
Potassium Bicarbonate (KHCO3) can not only inhibit growth of fungi and remove hyphae, but also spore germination. Due to its use in food as baking soda, it is perceived to be generally safe to use. With low toxicity levels and no health risks, Potassium Bicarbonate is even allowed for organic farming in the United States.
Other than apple scab, it can also prevent black spots and diseases such as powdery mildew – which can lead to complete loss of crop. Its effectiveness in dealing with powdery mildew makes Potassium Bicarbonate an effective contact fungicide.
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CAS number: 298-14-6
Appearance: White Crystalline Powder
Physical State: Solid (at room temperature)
Molecular Weight: 100.12
Melting point: Decomposes at 292ºC