Postharvest Biology

Postharvest Biology Overview

Between harvest and consumption, farm products are exposed and likely to undergo a series of processes. As a result, different crops require different post handling methods, and within varying time frames too. The deterioration of crops after harvesting is an example of such processes induced by postharvest biology. It occurs as a result of interactions between microorganisms and components of the harvested food when exposed to unfavourable conditions e.g. heat. This is why proper handling of harvests is essential and relevant to sustainable food production. It is estimated that nearly half of the quantity of food produced annually are lost postharvest, accounting for significant wastage of resources. Proper postharvest handling methods include storage under favourable conditions like freezing and drying. Others include processing, packing and sorting.
Postharvest biology determines the quality of food available for consumption. With some crops like fruits and vegetables, few hours postharvest, they start to lose moisture and whither. Vegetables like tomatoes may begin to undergo biological reactions especially when stored under heat. Other possible biological postharvest occurrences include ethylene production, compositional changes, physiological and pathological breakdown. Proper handling methods therefore slow down these biological processes that induce spoilage by creating an unfavourable environment for microorganisms to thrive. Tengrain Science is able to build the capacity of stakeholders on key topics like plant breeding. Please call us today.