Postharvest Practices for Organically Grown Products

Open access


Quality of produce cannot be improved after harvest, only maintained. Postharvest handling depends on the specific conditions of production, season, method of handling, and distance to market. Under organic production, growers harvest and market their produce at or near the peak ripeness more commonly than in many conventional systems. Organic production often includes more specialty varieties whose shelf life and shipping traits are reduced or even inherently poor. Harvesting and handling techniques that minimize injury to the commodity, as well as increased care with field and packinghouse sanitation, (chlorine, ozone, calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide, acetic acid, peroxyacetic acid, vinegar, ethyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) during postharvest processes are vital components of a postharvest management plan for organic products. Sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and physical treatments such as heat treatments (as hot water treatment or dips, short hot water rinsing and brushing or hot air) can significantly lower the disease pressure on the harvested commodities. These sanitation practices are very easy to implement in the organic food production chain. They start in the field and continue during harvesting, sorting, packing, and transportation and continue even in the consumer’s home. All those treatments reduce rot development, provide quarantine security, and preserve fruit quality during cold storage and shelf life. In addition, the use chitosan, propolis, methyl jasmonate, essential oils, carnuba wax, biocontrol agents and modified atmosphere packaging can also reduce decay development during prolonged storage. All these treatments can be applied alone or in combination with each other in order to improve decay control after harvest and provide a healthy and safe product to the consumer. The aim of this chapter is to shed more light on the latest information on permitted treatments for organic products and on the possible mode-of-action of these treatments. This chapter summarizes technologies developed over the past five years that explore special physical treatments applied either directly, or in combination with other means to control rot development and insect infestation on fresh produce.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • AHARONI N. RODOV V. FALLIK E. AFEK U. CHALUPOWICZ D. AHARON Z. MAURER D. ORENSTEIN J.: Modified atmosphere packaging for vegetable crops using high water-vapour-permeable films. In: Intelligent and active packaging for fruits and vegetables (Wilson C.L. Ed) CRC Press Boca Raton Florida pp. 73-112 2007

  • ANTUNES M.D.C. CAVACO A.M.: The use of essential oils for postharvest decay control. A Review. Flavour Fragrance Journal 25: 351-366 2010

  • ARRAS G. USAI M.:Fungitoxic activity of twelve essential oils against four postharvest citrus pathogens: chemical analysis of Thymus capitatus (L.) Hofmgg oil and its effect in subatmospheric pressure conditions Joural of Food Protection 64: 1025-1029 2001

  • CEGLIE F. G. AMODIO M. L. COLELLI G. : Effect of organic production systems on quality and postharvest performance of horticultural produce. Horticulturae 2 (4):1-7 2016

  • JEDERMANN R. NICOMETO M. UYSAL I. LANG W. 2015. Reducing food losses by intelligent food logistics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 372: article No. 20130302

  • EL-MOUGY N.S. ADBEL-KADER M.M.: Salts application for suppressing potato early blight disease. Journal of Plant Protection Research 49: 353-361 2009

  • CALEB O.J. WEGNER G. ROLLECZEK C. HERPPICH W.B. GEYER M. MAHAJAN P.V. : Hot water dipping: Impact on postharvest quality individual sugars and bioactive compounds during storage of ‘Sonata’ strawberry. Scientia Horticulturae 210: 150-157 2016

  • DROBY S. WISNIEWSKI M. MACARISIN D. WILSON C.: Twenty years of postharvest biocontrol research: is it time for a new paradigm? Postharvest Biology and Technology 52: 137-145 2009

  • DROBY S. WISNIEWSKI M. EL-GHAOUTH A. WILSON C. : Biological control of postharvest diseases of fruit and vegetables: current achievements and future challenges. Acta Horticulturae 628: 703-713 2003

  • ESHEL D. REGEV R. ORENSTEIN J. DROBY S. GAN-MOR S.: Combining physical chemical and biological methods for synergistic control of postharvest diseases: A case study of black root rot of carrot. Postharvest Biology and Technology 54: 48-52 2009

  • ESHEL D. ORENSTEIN J. TSROR L. HAZANOVSKY M.: Environmentally friendly method for the control of sprouting and tuber-borne diseases in stored potato. Acta Horticulturae 830: 363-368 2009a

  • FALLIK E.: Hot water treatments of fruits and vegetables for postharvest storage. Horticultural Review 38: 191-212 2010

  • FALLIK E.: Prestorage hot water treatments (immersion rinsing and brushing). Postharvest Biology and Technology 32: 125-134 2004

  • FALLIK E. GRINBERG S. ZIV O.: Potassium bicarbonate reduces postharvest decay development on bell pepper fruits. Journal of Horticultural Science 72: 35–41 1997

  • FALLIK E. ILIĆ Z.: Pre and postharvest treatments affecting flavor quality of fruits and vegetables. p.139-169 In: Siddiqui M.W.(ed) Preharvest modulation of postharvest fruits and vegetables quality. AAP-CRC Press USA. 2017

  • FONSECA S.C. OLIVEIRA F.A.R. LINO I.B.M. BRECHT J.K. CHAU K.V.: Modelling O2 and CO2 exchange for development of perforation mediated modified atmosphere packaging. Journal of Food Engineering 43: 9-15 2000

  • FELIZIANI E. SMILANICK J.L. MARGOSAN D.A.: Preharvest fungicide potassium sorbate or chitosan use on quality and storage decay of table grapes. Plant Disease 97: 307–314 2013

  • GLOWACZ M. MOGREN L.M. READE J.P.H. COBB A.H. MONAGHAN J.M.: Can hot water treatments enhance or maintain postharvest quality of spinach leaves? Postharvest Biology and Technology 81: 23–28 2013

  • GÓMEZ F. FERNANDEZ L. GERGOFF G. GUIAMET J.J. CHAVES A. BARTOLI C.G.: Heat shock increases mitochondrial H2O2 production and extends postharvest life of spinach leaves. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 49: 229–234 2008

  • GUENTZEL J.L. LAM K.L. CALLAN M.A. EMMONS S.A. DUNHAM V.L.: Postharvest management of gray mold and brown rot on surfaces of peaches and grapes using electrolyzed oxidizing water. International Journal of Food Microbiology 143: 54-60 2010

  • HONG P. HAO W. LUO J. CHEN S. HU M. ZHONG G. 2014. Combination of hot water Bacillus amyloliquefaciens HF-01 and sodium bicarbonate treatments to control postharvest decay of mandarin fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology 88: 96-102.

  • ILIĆ Z. FALLIK E. : Influence of post-harvest treatments on quality of Galia melons during low temperature storage. Acta Horticulturae 729: 417-421 2007

  • ILIĆ Z. FALLIK E. : Effect of prestorage manipulation on the reduction of chilling injury in tomatoes. Acta Horticulturae 682: 1639-1644 2005

  • KOUKOUNARAS A. SIOMOS A.S. SFAKIOTAKIS E. : Impact of heat treatment on ethylene production and yellowing of modified atmosphere packaged rocket leaves. Postharvest Biology and Technology 54: 172-176 2009

  • KLAIBER R.G. BAUR S. WOLF G. HAMMES W.P. CARLE. R.: Quality of minimally processed carrots as affected by warm water washing and chlorination. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 6(3): 351-362 2005

  • LAMBERT R.J.W. SKANDAMIS P.N. COOTE P.J. NYCHAS G.J.E.: A study of the minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of oregano essential oil thymol and carvacrol. Journal of Applied Microbiology 91: 453-462 2001

  • LECETA I. MOLINARO S. GUERRERO P. KERRY J.P. DE LA CABA K. : Quality attributes of map packaged ready-toeat baby carrots by using chitosan-based coatings. Postharvest Biology and Technology 100: 142-150 2015

  • MAHAJAN P.V. CALEB O.J. SINGH Z. WATKINS C.B. GEYER M.: Postharvest treatments of fresh produce. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 372: 20130309 2016

  • MANSO T. NUNES C.: Metschnikowia andauensis as a new biocontrol agent of fruit postharvest diseases. Postharvest Biology and Technology 61: 64-71 2011

  • MARI M. NERI F. BERTOLINI P.: Novel approaches to prevent and control postharvest diseases of fruits. Stewart Postharvest Review 3: 1-7 2007

  • MITTLER R. FINKA A. GOLOUBINOFF P. : How do plants feel the heat? Trends in Biochemistry and Science 37: 118-125 2012

  • MLIKOTA GABLER F. SMILANICK J.L. GHOSOPH G.M. MARGOSAN D.A.: Impact of postharvest hot water or ethanol treatment of table grapes on gray mold incidence quality and ethanol content. Plant Disease 89: 309-316 2005

  • MOSCETTI. R. CARLETTI L. MONARCA D. CECHINI M. STELLA E. MASSANTINI R.: Effect of alternative postharvest control treatments on the storability of ‘Golden Delicious’ apples. Journal Science and Food Agriculture 93: 2691-2697 2013

  • NIGRO F. SCHENA L. LIGORIO A. PENTIMONE I. IPPOLITO A. SALERNO M.G. : Control of table grape storage rots by pre-harvest applications of salts. Postharvest Biology and Technology 42 (2): 142–149 2006.

  • PALOU L. SMILANICK J.L. MARGOSAN D.A.: Ozone applications for sanitation and control of postharvest diseases of fresh fruits and vegetables. In: Recent advances in Alternative Postharvest Technologies to Control Fungal Diseases in Fruits and Vegetables. (Troncoso-Rojas R. Tiznado-Hernandez M. and Gonzalez-Leon A. Eds.) Transworld Research Network Mexico. pp. 39-70 2007

  • PINHEIRO J. ALEGRIA C. ABREU M. SOL M. GONÇALVES E.M. SILVA C.L.M. Postharvest quality of refrigerated tomato fruit (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Zinac ) at two maturity stages following heat treatment. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. 39: 697-707 2014

  • PERINI M.A. SIN I.N. REYES JARA A.M. GOMEZ LOBATO M.E. CIVELLO P.M. MARTÍNEZ G.A. : Hot water treatments performed in the base of the broccoli stem reduce postharvest senescence of broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var italica ) heads stored at 20°C. LWT - Food Science and Technology. 77 314-322 2017

  • POVERENOV E. ZAITSEV Y. ARNON H. GRANIT R. ALKALAI-TUVIA S. PERZELAN Y. WEINBERG T. FALLIK E.: Effects of a composite chitosan–gelatin edible coating on postharvest quality and storability of red bell peppers. Postharvest Biology and Technology 96: 106-109 2014

  • REDDY M.V.B. ANGERS P. GOSSELIN A. ARUL J. Characterization and use of essential oil from Thymus vulgaris against Botrytis cinerea and Rhizopus stolonifer in strawberry fruits. Phytochemistry 47: 1515-1520 1998

  • RODONI L.M. HASPERUE J.H. ORTIZ C.M. LEMOINE M.L. CONCELLON A. VICENTE A.R. : Combined use of mild heat treatment and refrigeration to extend the postharvest life of organic pepper sticks as affected by fruit maturity stage. Postharvest Biology and Technology 117: 168-176 2016

  • SAPERS G.M.: Efficacy of washing and sanitizing methods for disinfection of fresh fruit and vegetable products. Food Technology and Biotechnology 39: 305-311 2001.

  • SAPERS G.M.: Washing and sanitizing treatments for fruits and vegetables. In: Microbiology of Fruits and Vegetables. (Sapers G.M. Gorny J.R and Yousef A.E. Eds.) CRC Press Taylor and Francis Boca Raton pp. 375-400 2006.

  • SIVAKUMAR D. FALLIK E.: Influence of heat treatments on quality retention of fresh and fresh-cut produce. Food Review International 29: 294-320 2013

  • SIVAKUMAR D. SULTANBAWA Y. RANASINGH N. KUMARA P. WIJESUNDERA R.L.C.: Effect of combined application of chitosan and carbonate salts on the incidence of anthracnose and on the quality of papaya during storage. Journal of Horticulture Sciences Biotechnology 80 447–452 2005

  • SHAO X.F. TU K. TU S. TU J.: A combination of heat treatment and chitosan coating delays ripening and reduces decay in ‘Gala’ apple fruit. Journal of Food Quality 35: 83-92 2012

  • SHIEKH R.A. MALIK M.A. AL-THABAITI S.A. SHIEKH M.A.: Chitosan as a novel edible coating for fresh fruits. Food Science and Technology Research 19: 139-155 2013

  • SHOLBERG P.L. DELAQUIS P.J. MOYLS A.L. : Use of acetic acid fumigation to reduce the potential for decay in harvested crops. Recent Research Development and Plant Pathology 2: 31–41 1998

  • SMILANICK J.L. MANSOUR M.F. SORENSON D.: Pre- and postharvest treatments to control green mould of citrus fruit during ethylene degreasing. Plant Disease 90:89–96 2006

  • SUI Y. WISNIEWSKI M. DROBY S. NORELLI J. AND LIU J. : Recent advances and current status of the use of heat treatments in postharvest disease management systems: Is it time to turn up the heat? Trends in Food Science and Technology 51: 34-40 2016

  • SUSLOW T.: Postharvest handling for organic crops. UC Cooperative Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist UC Davis 2000

  • USALL J. IPPOLITO A. SISQUELLA M. AND NERI F.: Physical treatments to control postharvest diseases of fresh fruits and vegetables. Postharvest Biology and Technology 122: 30-40 2016

  • VILLA-RODRIGUEZ J.A. PALAFOX-CARLOS H. YAHIA E.M. AYALA-ZAVALA J.F. GONZALEZ-AGUILAR G.A.: Maintaining antioxidant potential of fresh fruits and vegetables after harvest. Critical Reviewers in Food Science and Nutrition 55: 806-822 2015

  • WOOLF A.B. AND FERGUSON I.B. : Postharvest responses to high fruit temperatures in the field. Postharvest Biology and Technology 21: 7-20 2000

  • WEI Y. XU M. WU H. TU S. PAN L. TU K. : Defense response of cherry tomato at different maturity stages to combined treatment of hot air and Cryptococcus laurentii. Postharvest Biology and Technology 117 177-186 2016

  • ZHAO Y. TU K. TU S. LIU M. SU J. HOU Y-P. : A combination of heat treatment and Pichia guilliermondii prevents cherry tomato spoilage by fungi. International Journal of Food Microbiology 137: 106-110 2010

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 806 203 11
PDF Downloads 404 135 10