Production Practices and Quality Assessment of Food Crops: Volume 1: Preharvest Practice

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Fresh produce continues to lose water after harvest.

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Water loss causes shrinkage and loss of weight. The rate at which water is lost varies according to the product. Leafy vegetables lose water quickly because they have a thin skin with many pores. Potatoes, on the other hand, have a thick skin with few pores.

But whatever the product, to extend shelf or storage life the rate of water loss must be minimal.

Volume 1 Preharvest Practice

The most significant factor is the ratio of the surface area of the fruit or vegetable to its volume. The greater the ratio the more rapid will be the loss of water. The rate of loss is related to the difference between the water vapour pressure inside the produce and in the air. Produce must therefore be kept in a moist atmosphere. Diseases caused by fungi and bacteria cause losses but virus diseases, common in growing crops, are not a major post-harvest problem.

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Deep penetration of decay makes infected produce unusable. This is often the result of infection of the produce in the field before harvest. Quality loss occurs when the disease affects only the surface. Skin blemishes may lower the sale price but do not render a fruit or vegetable inedible. Fungal and bacterial diseases are spread by microscopic spores , which are distributed in the air and soil and via decaying plant material. Infection after harvest can occur at any time.

It is usually the result of harvesting or handling injuries. Ripening occurs when a fruit is mature.

Ripeness is followed by senescence and breakdown of the fruit. Non-climacteric fruit only ripen while still attached to the parent plant. Their eating quality suffers if they are harvested before fully ripe as their sugar and acid content does not increase further. Examples are citrus , grapes and pineapple. Early harvesting is often carried out for export shipments to minimise loss during transport, but a consequence of this is that the flavour suffers.

Climacteric fruit are those that can be harvested when mature but before ripening has begun. These include banana, melon, papaya, and tomato.

Processed Tomatoes

In commercial fruit marketing the rate of ripening is controlled artificially, thus enabling transport and distribution to be carefully planned. Ethylene gas is produced in most plant tissues and is important in starting off the ripening process. It can be used commercially for the ripening of climacteric fruits. However, natural ethylene produced by fruits can lead to in- storage losses. For example, ethylene destroys the green colour of plants. Leafy vegetables will be damaged if stored with ripening fruit.

Ethylene production is increased when fruits are injured or decaying and this can cause early ripening of climacteric fruit during transport. Fruits and vegetables are very susceptible to mechanical injury. This can occur at any stage of the marketing chain and can result from poor harvesting practices such as the use of dirty cutting knives; unsuitable containers used at harvest time or during the marketing process, e.

Resultant damage can include splitting of fruits, internal bruising, superficial grazing, and crushing of soft produce. Poor handling can thus result in development of entry points for moulds and bacteria , increased water loss, and an increased respiration rate. Produce can be damaged when exposed to extremes of temperature.

Levels of tolerance to low temperatures are importance when cool storage is envisaged. All produce will freeze at temperatures between 0 and -2 degrees Celsius.

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Although a few commodities are tolerant of slight freezing, bad temperature control in storage can lead to significant losses. Some fruits and vegetables are also susceptible to contaminants introduced after harvest by use of contaminated field boxes; dirty water used for washing produce before packing; decaying, rejected produce lying around packing houses; and unhealthy produce contaminating healthy produce in the same packages.

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  • Losses directly attributed to transport can be high, particularly in developing countries. Damage occurs as a result of careless handling of packed produce during loading and unloading; vibration shaking of the vehicle, especially on bad roads; and poor stowage, with packages often squeezed into the vehicle in order to maximise revenue for the transporters. Overheating leads to decay, and increases the rate of water loss.

    Volume 1 Preharvest Practice

    In transport it can result from using closed vehicles with no ventilation; stacking patterns that block the movement of air; and using vehicles that provide no protection from the sun. Breakdowns of vehicles can be a significant cause of losses in some countries, as perishable produce can be left exposed to the sun for a day or more while repairs are carried out.

    At the retail marketing stage losses can be significant, particularly in poorer countries. Poor-quality markets often provide little protection for the produce against the elements, leading to rapid produce deterioration. Sorting of produce to separate the saleable from the unsaleable can result in high percentages being discarded, and there can be high weight loss from the trimming of leafy vegetables.

    Arrival of fresh supplies in a market may lead to some existing, older stock being discarded, or sold at very low prices. About this product. Stock photo. Brand new: lowest price The lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. It will stimulate readers thinking on key constraints in agriculture and horticulture.

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    • Over the next 20 years, the world's population will probably double. Worldwide climatic changes have been raising concerns about potential changes to crop yields and production systems. See details. Buy It Now.

      Production Practices and Quality Assessment of Food Crops: Preharvest Practice

      Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information This book focuses on the preharvest practices on the production and quality of food crops. Readers will get acquainted with a wide range of information, technologies and methodologies.

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