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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: POSTHARVEST TREATMENT OF TROPICAL COMMODITIES FOR QUARANTINE SECURITY, QUALITY MAINTENANCE, AND VALUE ENHANCEMENT

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: Quality of postharvest horticultural crops after irradiation treatment

Author
item Wall, Marisa

Submitted to: Stewart Postharvest Review
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 17, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Wall, M.M. 2008. Quality of postharvest horticultural crops after irradiation treatment. Stewart Postharvest Review (online) 2:1. Available from: http://www.stewartpostharvest.com/Vol4_2008/April_2008/Wall.htm

Interpretive Summary: Irradiation doses up to 1000 Gy have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the preservation and disinfestation of fresh fruits and vegetables. This review examines the radiotolerance of horticultural crops at doses < 1000 Gy for the purposes of quarantine treatment and inhibition of growth, maturation and ripening.

Technical Abstract: Irradiation doses up to 1000 Gy have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the preservation and disinfestation of fresh fruits and vegetables. This review examines the radiotolerance of horticultural crops at doses < 1000 Gy for the purposes of quarantine security and inhibition of growth, maturation and ripening. The use of irradiation for shelf-life extension holds promise for some crops, but interactions between cultivar, maturity, dose, and storage conditions must be carefully managed to achieve a beneficial effect. Often the effective dose for shelf-life extension is very close to the phytotoxic threshold. Lower doses are approved for insect disinfestation, and for this reason, the use of irradiation for quarantine treatment is driving the commercial expansion of the technology. Many horticultural commodites intended for export must receive an approved quarantine treatment before shipment. Irradiation is more efficient and less phytotoxic than thermal, cold, or fumigation treatments. Unlike other phytosanitary treatments, generic irradiation doses can be developed to target a broad group of pests, regardless of host crop. However, crop sensitivities at the potential maximum irradiation doses need to be determined to ensure quality while providing quarantine security. Careful attention to dosimetry, fruit maturity, and storage conditions must be considered when researching irradiation effects on crop quality and shelf-life.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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