BIBLIOTECA HORTICULTURA

BIBLIOTECA HORTICULTURA

Research by MeBioS Postharvest Group

Research by MeBioS Postharvest Group

MeBioS POSTHARVEST GROUP aims at increasing knowledge about postharvest changes of horticultural products, developing new postharvest storage and supply chain management systems, and designing new devices to measure and monitor postharvest quality changes of fruit and vegetables. To this end we are developing virtual fruit and vegetables –mathematical models that describes and predicts the behavior of the product accurately down to the nanometer scale and includes precise models for biochemical pathways and their intricate regulation. 

Main research areas are Biofluidics, Postharvest systems biology, Fruit and vegetable quality, and Engineering applications.


BIOFLUIDICS
Transport phenomena play an important role in postharvest biology and technology. Examples are transport of metabolic gasses such as O2, CO2 and ethylene during controlled atmosphere storage of pome fruit, water loss of leafy vegetables, and air flow in storage facilities. We develop mathematical models to describe transport phenomena in biological systems at a wide range of spatial scales. We use computational fluid dynamics software to solve the model equations on high performance computers, and develop and use novel techniques to validate the models.

Research lines include:
Transport of metabolic gasses
Water transport and mechanical deformation
Microstructure

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POSTHARVEST SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
Fruit and vegetables remain metabolically active when harvested. We use a systems biology approach and rely on high throughput techniques to investigate postharvest changes in the transcriptome, proteome, fluxome and metabolome of the product. We develop kinetic models to describe the dynamics of the most relevant pathways and their regulation, in particular with respect to respiration and fermentation, ethylene biosynthesis and transduction, and cell wall changes. We use this knowledge to better understand the development of physiological postharvest disorders and identify biomarkers for them.

Research lines include:
High throughput phenotyping and biomarkers
Dynamic models for quality
Integrated pathway models

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FRUIT AND VEGETABLE QUALITY
We develop new techniques to measure quality changes in the postharvest chain of fresh fruit and vegetables. We are focusing on texture, flavour and internal defects. Special emphasis goes to the development of high-throughput and nondestructive techniques such as acoustic methods for firmness, near infrared spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging for taste components and high throughput mass spectrometry techniques for aroma.

Research lines include:
Taste
Aroma
Texture
3D shape and structure
Internal defects
Microbial spoilers

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ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS 
We use our expertise to develop engineering solutions for our industrial partners in the area of postharvest technology but also related areas such as agricultural and horticultural machinery and food process engineering. We focus on the design and control of storage rooms, online grading of fruit and vegetables, postharvest supply chain management, and pre- and postharvest treatments of fruit and vegetables.

Research lines include:
Cold store design and control
Online grading
Postharvest supply chain management
Spray technology

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