By Niquee Balbin

Mangoes (Mangifera indica L.), widely referred to as the “King of Fruits”, is a popular fruit in the international market due to the mixture of its sweet and sour flavor, attractively fragrant smell, smooth texture, and nutritional properties.

Its Carabao variety is considered the most widely grown in the Philippines and is dominantly exported. However, it is highly perishable since it ripens easily after harvest and it is vulnerable to postharvest diseases causing severe losses during storage and transport. Among these diseases, anthracnose is the most prominent in postharvest mango production.

Introducing anthracnose

Anthracnose is a serious fungal disease that affects mangoes by ripening them faster, which makes their customer acceptability lower and drops their price competitiveness in the world market when exported.

In combating anthracnose, economical and traditional treatments have been widely practiced and have been quite helpful in prolonging mango’s shelf life. However, the persistence of the disease threatens mango growers and has become alarming to farmers. Presently, evaluating anthracnose disease is mainly based on visual hedonic scales— a kind of approach that solely depends on the experience of the evaluator. This is the current standard scaling used worldwide.

To help with this, inventors from the University of Southeastern Philippines have come up with an offline application for Android OS (Operating System) that can capture, process, and analyze images to quantitatively evaluate the severity of anthracnose on mangoes using the smartphone’s built-in camera. Called the DigiMango App, the application is  a tool that can be safely carried on one’s phone,and  can give results in a click which can be compiled electronically.

Position of ten mangoes when captured. (Photo courtesy of the Publication Unit, Research Division, University of Southeastern Philippines)

This digital-based application evaluates the percentage of anthracnose quantitatively by depending on capturing spot-like lesions on the mango’s surface. Mangoes can be captured individually or as a group. Each transaction is considered as one project and results can be saved in the app or not as deemed unnecessary.

View of the saved result. (Photo courtesy of the Publication Unit, Research Division, University of Southeastern Philippines)

The availability of this application soon can further propel the start of a digital transition. Mango disease researchers and agricultural technicians will, indeed, be guided in improving mango quality both for preharvest and post-harvest seasons.

This article was previously published in the Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development.