Postharvest Biology and Technology
• Postharvest microbiology and technology.
Responsible: Dra. Inmaculada Viñas Almenar
• Postharvest physiology and biochemestry.
Responsible: Dr. Jordi Graell Sarlé
• Volatile compounds for postharvest improvement and control.
Responsible: Dra. María Luisa López Fructuoso
The goals of the Postharvest Biology and Technology Unit are:
-To identify and control the microbiological hazards of fresh, minimally-processed and processed fruits and vegetables, developing new strategies for their reduction and control to ensure food safety without affecting its quality (standard, nutritional and sensory).
-To determine the components and physiological processes that are decisive for the main quality characteristics of fruits, both during ripening and in the postharvest phase, paying special attention to the biochemical processes responsible for changes in the taste and texture of the fruit.
-To use the volatile compounds naturally presents in fruit and vegetables to develop new strategies that allow their use as bio-markers of alterations /diseases and flavourings to improve fruits and vegetable organoleptic quality and to ensure their safety.
The current research lines are:
- Study of the microbiological hazards and risks of fresh, minimally processed and processed fruits and vegetables.
- Development of new biopreservation strategies and physical/chemical treatments to control food-borne pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in fresh, minimally-processed and processed fruits and vegetables.
- Improvement of microbiological quality and food safety of fruit and vegetable juices.
- Physiological and biochemical bases of fruit quality.
- Improvement and quality control in pre and postharvest of fruits and vegetables, with special emphasis on their aroma and organoleptic quality.
- Detection, isolation and use of volatile compounds present in the fruit as biomarkers of alteration /diseases.
- Isolation, characterization and application of volatile compounds present in food industry by-products as flavourings in food from vegetal origin.
- Evaluation of biological control agents in the laboratory and pilot plant
- Study of Preharvest risks factors affecting safety of MFPF.
- Study the incidence and survival of foodborne pathogens on MPFV.
- Study of new or alternative methods to reduce and control the growth of spoilage microorganisms and foodborne pathogens.
- Analysis of expression of genes involved in defences responses of apples inoculated with the pathogen P. expansum and non-pathogen P. digitatum
- Proteomic analysis of apple proteins differentially expressed in response to the pathogen P. expansum and non-pathogen P. digitatum.
The development of techniques to reduce or control the growth of FBPs on fresh-cut fruits based on the use of one antagonist, Pseudomonas graminis CPA-7, that has shown high efficacy in reducing foodborne pathogens responsible of foodborne diseases (Salmonella spp., E.coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes) in fresh-cut fruits.