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Completed project

Identifying and sharing postharvest best practice on-farm and online (VG13083)

Key research provider: Applied Horticultural Research
Publication date: Sunday, June 11, 2017

What was it all about?

This project was responsible for documenting and communicating techniques and technologies to help vegetable growers achieve post-harvest efficiencies – finding ways to improve quality and shelf life, and to reduce cost, to allow growers to capture more value from the supply chain. The information from the project has been compiled into a series of extension materials, including the Postharvest management of vegetables: Australian supply chain handbook.

In compiling information on the latest post-harvest technologies for vegetables, where information was lacking or outdated, the project team conducted trials. These focused on measuring storage life of different vegetables at a range of temperatures, and measuring the rate of weight loss due to temperature and relative humidity.

Surprisingly, the trials demonstrated that it may not always be necessary to cool product to the ‘optimum’ temperature to achieve the quality and shelf life required for transport and retail.

Another significant finding was that some chilling-sensitive products, such as capsicums, eggplant and zucchini, can be stored for several days or even longer at low temperature before damage occurs. In the case of red and green capsicums, storage life was longest at 2°C and 4°C respectively. It took longer for the development of chilling injury to reduce quality than the rots which inevitably develop at higher temperatures of 7°C or more.

The project developed models estimating daily potential moisture loss at a range of temperatures and humidity. This provides a tool for growers in determining an appropriate rate of over-pack for cartons or packages.


Related levy funds


Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2017. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).