Submitted to: Post Harvest 2000 Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A Interpretive Summary: This paper summarizes the symposium talk given at the Post-Harvest Congress 2000, Jerusalem, March 24-31. The paper reviews the progress made in the last forty years in enhancing post-harvest quality of fruits and vegetables. Also, the subject matter is discussed in terms of future contributions from biological revolution in biosensors, computers and biotechnology toward improving shelf-life, nutritive value and disease resistance in vegetables and fruits. The review contains up-to-date literature that should be of use to plant biologists, horticulturists and bioengineers.
Technical Abstract: The last century witnessed remarkable progress in several post-harvest related science and technology areas, including elucidation of ethylene biosynthesis pathway, identification of ethylene receptors, cloning of ripening/senescence-related genes, and application of biotechnology to enhance post-harvest life of fruits. Already classical genetics is merging with direct gene manipulation and pyramiding of genes in producing transgenic plants with better quality (phytonutrients), longer shelf-life, and inbred-traits conferring resistance to post-harvest pathogens. The new era will ensure clearer understanding of fundamental processes of structure-function, gene organization and gene regulation that govern plant growth, development and senescence. Acceptance of edible transgenic crops will depend on properly conducted and well-defined risk assessment studies. Another challenge is to devise ways of producing new crops in a cost-effective, profitable manner for marketing. In the 21st century, biotechnology, sniffers, computers and sensors will merge to help development of new methods to measure post-harvest characteristics, store the produce, and re-design fruits and vegetables such that the quality attributes are maintained for a long time after harvest.