Use of fungicide guarded against key diseases including Sclerotinia, Rhizoctonia and Botrytis, the BASF scientists said.
"Post-harvest losses in lettuce can be due to several factors," said Simon Townsend, product stewardship manager of the protectant product Signum.
"These include diseases like Botrytis or other symptoms such as pinkrib, discoloration or dehydration, leading to unacceptable quality for the retailers."
Trials in Spain showed Signum reduced incidence of all these factors, he said. Harvested icebergs were kept in a controlled cool atmosphere for seven days and then kept at ambient temperature for a further seven days.
After three days in cool storage, nine per cent of untreated produce showed pinkrib against five per cent for Signum-treated lettuce. After nine days in storage, pinkrib in the untreated crop rose to over 18 per cent, and eight per cent in the Signum-treated crop.
"Signum also reduced discoloration and the number of plants affected by water loss. Most importantly, the marketable yield of lettuce was 152 per cent compared to the standard treatment at 100 per cent, which was cyprodinil and fludioxinil."
Townsend added: "We now have strong field evidence of the positive effects on reducing post-harvest losses, which is important in a market where quality and visual appeal is key."