Post-harvest technology

Apples that taste juicy all year round. Cut flowers that stay fresh in the vase for two weeks. Avocados that ripen just when you want to eat them. Suppliers of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers aim to offer year round, top quality fresh produce. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops advanced post-harvest technologies that allow partners, throughout the fresh-produce supply chain, to guarantee optimum quality and extended shelf-life.

Controlling quality and shelf-life

At what temperature should roses be transported? How do I prevent pears becoming too soft? And what should I do to get avocados into the store at the moment they are ripe enough to be consumed? Suppliers of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers aim to deliver top quality products throughout the year: fresh, with an appropriate shelf-life, delicious and healthy and, preferably, grown sustainably. A challenging task because of the factors of seasonality, globally-based growers, and long transportation and storage times. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops practical, applicable post-harvest technologies that allow partners throughout the fresh-produce supply chain to control the quality and shelf-life of their products. This enables them to meet consumer demands and establish significant cost and sustainability benefits in the chain. Benefits such as year-round availability, waste reduction, reduced power consumption and reduced use of preservatives. With an intelligently-applied heat shock, for example, you can kill unwanted insects, eliminating the need for hazardous gases.

Clever post-harvest strategies

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research combines knowledge of plant physiology and technology for optimal maintenance of quality following harvest. Our expertise ranges from ageing and decay to maturity, taste and flower development. We work with various models and biomarkers for predicting quality. We also have expertise in the areas of temperature management, moisture control, DCS-storage technology, Controlled Atmosphere, (Modified Atmosphere) packaging, transport technology, energy management and cold store design. Our approach is multidisciplinary and focusses primarily on solving supply-chain problems. Our work employs the latest scientific insights. Except for carrying out research and innovation projects, companies can hire us for consultancy, process management and in-house training in the area of post-harvest technology.

Interactive post-harvest treatment 

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has developed an interactive approach to the post-harvest storage of fresh produce, matching the Controlled Atmosphere conditions carefully to the storage process. For fruit, this process is monitored by measuring ethanol production. This innovative approach extends product shelf-life by three months and ensures higher quality. Other project examples include quality monitoring throughout the chain and sea transport of cut flowers.