Postharvest physiology and storage technology of horticultural products
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Provide knowledge and competence on everything concerning physiology and structural changes of plant products from harvest to consumption. The student will acquire better awareness on plant products storage, and consequently autonomy in judgements concerning the solution of storage related problems.
Course contents summary
Basics of plant physiology, chemistry and biochemistry, in order to give the student a comprehensive view of the events occurring in a living plant. Harvest and the physiological changes occurring with reference to harvest techniques will be dealt with next.
In the second part the lectures will be on plant physiology with reference to fruit ripening and other organs development, and on the changes occurring during storage, with special stress on the effect of the different types of storage on product quality.
Physiology of growth, development and ripening in fruit trees, vegetables and field crops.
Respiration, biochemical, physical and morphological modifications, development of organoleptic characters.
Choice of harvest time. Maturity indexes for the different species and products.
Harvest. Pros and cons of the different techniques, with reference to quality and storage.
Post harvest physiology of fruit and vegetables. Effect of physical factors (temperature, humidity, light)
Refrigeration and pre-refrigeration.
Controlled atmosphere: effects of modifications in the concentration of oxygen, humidity, carbon dioxide, ethylene
Control of fruit ripening
Main types of plants for horticultural products storage.
Other methods of long term storage
Grain storage in silos, and main silo types
Principal pathologies of stored plant products. Physiological disorders.
Handouts supplied by the teacher
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral exam and disussion of an essay on the storage of a particular plant product.