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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Food Quality Laboratory » Research » Research Project #426765

Research Project: Improving Food Quality and Shelf Life through New Technology Development and Process Optimization in Supply Chain

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-43440-005-03-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2014
End Date: May 31, 2019

1) Evaluate the temporal and spatial profile of open refrigerated retail display case and its impact on the quality and shelf life of packaged fresh-cut produce; and 2) assess the effects of postharvest handling practices on the changes of bioactive compounds in new and emerging fruits and vegetables.

This collaborative project takes multi-disciplinary approaches to address a number of important issues related to the quality and nutrition losses of fruits and vegetables in supply chain. To address objective 1, ARS will first evaluate the temperature profiles of retail store display cases as impacted by case operational conditions (thermostat setting, duty cycle, defrost duration, and frequencies etc.) using temperature simulators, and then using commercially processed fresh-cut salads. The cabinet temperatures on microbial growth and shelf life of salad products will then be determined. To address objective 2, ARS will analyze the concentrations of various vitamins and antioxidants in emerging fruits and vegetables, especially micro greens. ARS will further assess the effect of pre- and post-harvesting conditions including light exposure and calcium application on the changes in phytonutrient concentration and product quality attributes.