Author: Dr. R.R. Sharma
Principal Scientist (Hort.)
Division of Food Science and Postharvest Technology
ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi- 110 012, India
Fruit and vegetables are a major source of essential vitamins and minerals, which are needed for wellbeing of human. Hence, these are rightly called as 'protective foods' by medical experts. Being highly active metabolically, these commodities are highly perishable in nature and thus require coordinated systematic handling to maintain quality and reduce losses and waste. It is estimated that around 25-30% of this valuable produce goes waste in the form of postharvest losses occurring between harvesting till they reach consumers. Hence, coordinated activities are required to reduce postharvest losses and waste of fresh fruits and vegetables because these commodities provide essential nutrients and represent sources of domestic and international revenue.
In general, attributes such as appearance, texture, flavour and nutritional value have been traditional quality criteria in fruits and vegetables, but increasingly safety (chemical, toxicological and microbial) and traceability are important for consumers. Fresh produce is often eaten raw or after minimal processing and food pathogen contamination can present risk of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. Owing to multiple uncertainties along the supply chain, microbial contamination leading to spoilage and postharvest losses can occur at any of the stages in the continuum from farm to consumer. Therefore, postharvest treatments are essential to minimize microbial spoilage and reduce the risk of pathogen contamination for fresh fruits and vegetables..
Several postharvest physical, chemical and gaseous treatments are given to fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain fresh-like quality with high nutritional value and meet safety standards of fresh produce. These postharvest treatments can be combined with appropriate storage temperatures. In this chapter, we have attempted to review the status of postharvest treatments and emerging technologies that can be used to maintain quality and reduce wastage of fresh produce.
About Author / Additional Info:
Working on production and postharvest management of fruits and vegetables for the last 32 years. I have published more that 130 research articles in journals of international repute. Authored 12 books, 250 popular articles and received several awards and honours of ICAR and Govt. of India