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Keyword 9 - Pre- and postharvest control measures

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Background

Preharvest control measures are related to one or more aspects of the production environment (e.g. temperature, rain fall, light intensity,…) or crop management practices (e.g. type of irrigation system, production system (soil, greenhouse,…) and use of pesticides). Together with several postharvest control measures such as use of pesticides, decontamination and packaging they affect produce quality and safety. Both pre- and postharvest conditions may influence tissue susceptibility for contamination and internalization with food borne pathogens by affecting plant physiology, tissue structure and microbial ecology. Their influence is not always sufficiently understood to estimate microbial persistence on plants and to provide detailed information on the susceptibility of fresh produce as vehicle for the transmission of microbial pathogens.

Veg-i-Trade approach

The Veg-i-Trade results will contribute to categorise several preharvest production practices as safe or hazardous, depending on its contribution to the susceptibility of fresh produce as vehicle for transmission of enteric bacteria. After the study of the impact of climatic and environmental conditions and crop production systems, several pre-harvest control measures will be implemented on the field.
Veg-i-Trade will provide know-how on changes in respiration rate and metabolite production affecting quality due to the application of different postharvest treatments such as decontamination, packaging technology and storage conditions. Scientific answers will be obtained on how post-harvest treatments enhance attachment of microorganisms and how this affects survival and/or growth of the microbiological population. This know-how will contribute to the recommendations for decreasing the susceptibility of plants to act as vehicle for pathogens and their toxins.