Longer fresh produce shelf life
A new approach to prolonging fresh produce shelf-life and reducing waste is the subject of a horticultural LINK project that begins this month. Low doses of ultraviolet light stimulate natural plant defences (a process known as hormesis) that can extend the shelf-life of fresh produce. In contrast to conventional UV treatment, the effect is not restricted to the surface of the treated commodities but manifested through the plant tissues and is triggered by much lower doses of UV. This offers exciting possibilities for reducing post-harvest losses of perishable fruits and vegetables - if the phenomenon can be harnessed under commercial conditions. If successful, initial trials with strawberry, tomato and broccoli could be extended to a wider range of produce.
Funded by Defra as part of HortLINK and supported by an industrial consortium including the fresh produce and retail sectors, the project is being led by CCFRA working with Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham (Sutton Bonington).
Contact: Nick Saunders