Preventing Post Harvest Losses

Every year millions of dollars in potential profits are lost due to post-harvest losses from disease, physical injury and the resulting decay of fruits and vegetables. Losses are estimated at 20-40% in developing countries and 10-15% in developed countries, depending on the crop. The factors which contribute to these losses can be reduced with attention to some preventative steps.

Post Harvest Best Practices
Good post-harvest disease prevention practices should actually start before the harvest. A short program (one or two sprays) of fungicide treatments just prior to harvesting utilizing an organic “zero day to entry” broad-spectrum fungicide can dramatically reduce molds and bacteria in the crop. A disease free crop at harvest time will lessen the chances of a post-harvest disease flare up.

tomato shelf lifeOther causes of post-harvest losses include excessive or careless handling and/or poor storage practices. There are growers associations for every grown commodity that collect and share data regarding the best practices for storage and handling that can provide the grower with helpful post-harvest handling guidance and advice.

A Post Harvest Loss Solution
The fruit and vegetable industry has long awaited a post-harvest produce treatment solution that will eliminate post-harvest disease threats and promote longer shelf life. The key to solving both of these challenges has been to introduce a sanitation step without wetting the produce. A wet sanitation step usually requires that the produce be dried before packaging and produce dryers are notorious for harboring bacteria (which can cause re-inoculation of the disease into the produce). The Fog Tunnel provides a “dry” sanitation step by injecting BioSafe System’s organic-approved chemicals into consistent, 4.2 micron fog particles that fill the fogging chamber to treat the fruit or vegetables as they pass through on a conveyor. The produce must achieve maximum surface-area coverage for a minimum of 10 seconds in order to produce effective results.

The positive results that the Fog Tunnel can produce are convincing. In a recent study, an increase in microbial quality and an overall shelf life increase of 3-5 days (in fresh cut collard greens [PDF]) was observed when compared to the untreated control. Fog Tunnel treatments with StorOx were consistently effective in reducing the incidence of grey mold, anthracnose, and other fungal rots on tomatoes [PDF]. At the recommended chemical application rates, no phytoxicity has been observed on a wide range of produce that has been tested.

As discussed and observed, post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables can be reduced prior to harvest as well as post-harvest, through improved handling, storage and storage preparation. The Fog Tunnel treatment can be an integral step in enhancing the quality and increasing the shelf-life of any freshly grown commodity, thus minimizing post-harvest losses.

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  • By Preventing Post Harvest Losses « organicfungicides on December 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    […] post harvest losses GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "business"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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