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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #90174


item Wang, Chien
item Zhang, Howard

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/23/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This manuscript reviews and discusses various factors affecting the deterioration of horticultural commodities. Quality of most fruits and vegetables declines rapidly after harvest. The perishability of these fresh produce leads to significant postharvest losses. This manuscript also describes techniques that are helpful for maintaining postharvest quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. Other methods for preserving food including canning, drying, and freezing are also included. New and emerging food preservation technologies such as hurdle technology, the use of natural antimicrobials, food irradiation, fast heating technique, and nonthermal preservation technologies are also discussed. Information provided in this paper is useful to other researchers and is beneficial to the produce industry and consumers.

Technical Abstract: Fresh fruits and vegetables are highly perishable. Quality declines rapidly after harvest especially if proper postharvest handling procedures are not followed. Changes in color, texture, nutrition, and flavor all affect market quality of fruits and vegetables. Factors which enhance quality decline are bruising, mechanical injury, physiological disorders, and pathological diseases. Methods for maintaining postharvest quality include refrigeration, controlled atmosphere storage, hypobaric storage, film packaging, waxing and surface coating, irradiation, and the use of chemicals or growth regulators. Fruits and vegetables can also be preserved as dried foods, canned foods, and frozen foods. Food processing prevents spoilage and extends the period during which a food remains wholesome by preservation techniques which inhibit microbiological or biochemical changes and thus allow time for distribution and storage. Techniques described in this manuscript help to reduce postharvest losses and maintain nutritive quality of fruits and vegetables after harvest.