Postharvest technologies

Postharvest technologies

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has the very latest expertise and technologies at its disposal to keep fruit, vegetables and floriculture products fresh for longer. This ranges from advice for improving storage and conditioned transport to the development of refrigeration technologies and sustainable plant treatment methods such as CATT. Experts from Wageningen advise companies on how to preserve the quality of fresh produce without detriment to the environment.

Climate control, cooling technology and energy efficiency

Experts from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research have far-reaching knowledge of cooling techniques, refrigerated transport, airflow distribution and energy efficiency in the fresh produce supply chain. The aim is always to preserve the quality of the stored product while producing the minimum of greenhouse gas emissions. The knowledge of our experts and our computer models form the basis for optimising the design and control of cooling systems using refrigeration compressors, refrigerant pumps and refrigeration fans, with a special focus on the development of robust solutions for use in developing countries.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging

The experts of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research are collaborating with the industry to develop a new generation of environmentally friendly packaging materials, including biobased and monolayer packaging. An important part of the research involves identifying and optimising the most effective forms of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) for all categories of fresh products. We are well equipped to conduct this research, which includes:

  • gas permeability measurements of films under controlled temperature and humidity
  • small scale production of biobased films using alternative materials
  • respiration analyses of fresh produce
  • storage experiments in our climate chambers

Unique research facilities

Our experts conduct research into the influence of preservation technologies on the quality of fresh produce using state-of-the-art research facilities including:

  • A CATT (Controlled Atmosphere Temperature Treatment) system for rendering plants ‘pest-free’ which is suitable for import-export quarantine treatment. In this system, plants are placed in a gas-tight cell under high temperature and controlled air conditions. The CATT system is a sustainable, non-chemical alternative to methyl bromide that can be used without legal restrictions.
  • Various flowering rooms where living-room conditions for flowers and plants are simulated.
  • A gas diffusion chamber in which the physical properties of packaging materials are analysed. Various gas chromatographs are used to measure the production of ethanol, methanol, ethylene, oxygen and carbon dioxide emitted by the fresh produce stored in 150 CA (Controlled Atmosphere) cylinders.
  • Climate chambers.
  • Small-scale CA storage systems.
  • Unique ATP test rooms for testing reefer containers and refrigerated vehicles at climate chamber temperatures of between -20 and +50°C. Our researchers measure the insulation value, cooling capacity and energy consumption of the containers, but they also perform qualification tests in view of the EU guidelines on Good Distribution Practice of medicinal products for human use, to determine temperature fluctuation and distribution in refrigerated transports under extreme outdoor temperatures.

Interested in the possibilities?

Contact us for an informal conversation.