Lack of implementation in pre and post harvest technologies and application leads to great losses to the agriculture industry at large. This article will review some of the world renowned post-harvest technologies that could minimize losses to post-harvest horticulture products.
Edible coatings and natural products
Fruits that are highly perishable should be coated with natural products and edible coatings at they act as a barrier during packaging and processing, which decreases decay and increases shelf life. They are also safe to use because they are produced with natural components: Zein, alginate, starch, lipids, cellulose, milk proteins and wax.
Treatment of fungi is important to prevent both pre and post harvest losses as they result in significant decay. Materials like Boscalid, cyprodinil, fenhexamid, pyrimethanil and pyraclostrobin are efficient against fungus that rots fruit.
Inorganic compounds application
Many of the inorganic compounds like microbial antagonists are not very useful pre-harvest, but are more useful if used post-harvest. For example, antagonistic yeast is an important compound to apply on horticulture products for the control of post-harvest diseases.
Research finds that nonpathogenic bio products like ionized copper, calcium chloride, hydrogen dioxide and potassium carbide are not very efficient at reducing or stopping decay. However, biological agents like vinegar and acetic acid can be very effective at reducing postharvest decay in pome and stone fruits.
Recently it has been found that treating horticulture crops with heat after they are harvested bring forth impressive results such as reduction in decay.
One way to increase the shelf life of products during the packaging process is to control the amount of atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide within the packaging of the horticulture products. It is found that with active packaging, fresh fruits and vegetables can be preserved for long period of time.
Active packaging acts as a barrier for moisture and gas emissions for longer shelf lives of products. For horticulture products like fruit and vegetables, active packaging reduces oxygen in the packaging which reduces the efficiency of the respiration process of packed commodities. Moreover, carbon-dioxide is also reduced which relatively increases the temperature of the product and hence eliminates development of micro-organisms.
Perforated films can be placed between fruits and vegetables, which keeps the gaseous exchange at a limit, which further helps in preserving the fruit.
Modified Atmospheric Packaging
Modified Atmospheric Pressure (MAP) has a positive impact on the table life of fruits. The table life of fruits saw an increase from 3 to 4 weeks at a temperature of 100°s–which is significantly better than not using modified packaging. This method reduces the production of ethylene, which in turn decreases enzymatic reactions in the fruit. This leads to an increase in tomato quality with 3% oxygen and 20% carbon dioxide levels. Researchers compared the table life of carrot samples stored at different oxygen levels; it was found that carrots, if stored at 80% oxygen and 10% carbon dioxide, extended their life compared to carrots stored at 5% oxygen levels. Advancements in packaging technologies and different compositions of carbon dioxide and oxygen under cold storage can be utilized to increase the shelf lives of a variety of horticulture products.