What fruit rot pathogen makes storage tomatoes turn completely gray, ultra soft, and watery—which also makes them smell like rotten storage potatoes? (I'm guessing it's the same thing that typically rots old wrinkly storage potatoes around here.) The pathogen doesn't seem to cause any spots. It just turns the tomatoes completely gray without any blemishes (all parts at the same time), and gives them the rotten/old potato smell. The pathogen seems to be dominant over anthracnose (i.e. in a storage area with both pathogens, they seem to get this instead of anthracnose, and they don't get anthracnose, too). It doesn't seem to hurt the flavor of the tomatoes at all, unlike some pathogens—although I haven't tried ones that have turned gray, of course (just tomatoes in the same bin wherein the smell was, and probably some that were just starting to get affected; if anything, it seems to make them taste better; nevertheless, it causes a lot of fruit loss and leaky tomatoes).

Fruits turn soft and kind of translucent and watery-looking/feeling before turning gray.

I don't have any pictures at this time.

  • These are stored tomato fruits not in a refrigerator? All piled into some sort of bin, or placed carefully with stem ends up, separated from one another?
    – Bamboo
    Nov 6, 2016 at 1:58
  • Also, stored for how long and with or without the stems in place?
    – Bamboo
    Nov 6, 2016 at 2:18
  • They were not refrigerated. They were in bowls and pots, with and without stems, without regard to stem direction, in both cold and warm locations. They were bunched together. They were washed before storage. The ones in a cold room were where we store potatoes, and I think that's where it came from. The disease has not occurred outdoors, to my knowledge. It mostly affects ripe fruit. It began within a few weeks of storage, and I haven't seen much of the disease since I threw out the affected fruits a few times (I'm not sure why, but that's nice). Nov 7, 2016 at 22:15
  • 1
    I can't say which pathogen it is, but I can say that tomatoes don't keep well for longer than a week, and only that long if they're stored correctly, that is, depending on the variety, stem present, stem side up, stem absent, stem side down. It just sounds like one of a range of possible, inevitable and entirely natural decomposition factors
    – Bamboo
    Nov 7, 2016 at 22:18
  • Remove immediately all mushy and/or affected fruit. The best way I have found to use fresh tomatoes we don't have time to eat is to dehydrate them. Makes 'sun dried tomatoes' which I use as much if not more than fresh. This can be done in your oven and they last (years) a long time if done correctly. Tomatoes do best just like you are doing, in a cool, dark, ventilated room in a single layer on newspaper NOT in a pile. They lose flavor big time in a refrigerator. Bamboo's correct for fresh storage. A week is all one can hope for when fresh. Probably just good old botrytis, grey mold.
    – stormy
    Nov 8, 2016 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Botrytis cinerea. The plants were already infected when stored, that's why it's important to treat plants during their lifecycle. High humidity and low ventilation speed up the development of the fungus.

  • There was no outer mold on the tomatoes, and it's not a humid environment. Outdoor tomatoes did not seem to be afflicted with this (just indoor storage tomatoes). There are still ripe tomatoes from the same batches of tomatoes in storage (in the same conditions), but the pathogen doesn't seem to be affecting any tomatoes, as of a couple weeks after I asked the question or so (with a couple exceptions). I did eventually, however, find some spots on some tomatoes, but the vast majority showed no visible signs of disease, other than turning gray (with unblemished skin with no outward mold). Dec 6, 2016 at 0:23
  • Most of the afflicted tomatoes haven't even turned gray, actually. They just turn extremely soft and watery, and when you try to pick them up, they rupture and leak all over. They smell like musky old rotting potatoes, especially after being punctured. Dec 6, 2016 at 0:26
  • Yes, these are typical simptoms. The more humid or rainy the season, the more Botrytis grows. Try to store the next harvest in a ventilated room. If the storage room is not too big you can use a general purpose ventilator to remove humidity.
    – Alina
    Feb 9, 2017 at 7:54

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