Reducing Post-harvest losses to increase food sustainability.
Main postharvest losses are caused by physiological, pathological and physical damage; being these causes in many instances interrelated. Harvested products are highly heterogeneous and conventional postharvest approaches are not sufficient for an optimum profitability of these foodstuffs. These methods are usually based on controlling the physiological and sanitary status on pre-harvest, for which only a part of the harvest is analysed as a representative of the whole group.
In order to overcome this problem, REPLAY will develop innovative tools and methodologies for a sustainable management of post harvested food. This objective will be achieved through a staff exchange structure that will contribute to: (i)food quality assessment; (ii)processing technologies; (iii)food chain sustainability assessment; (iv)dissemination and (v)innovation and competitiveness. To strengthen these research areas, the project foresees staff exchange and networking activities between European and Third Country partners, high-level training of personnel and to create and reinforce networks for future joint research projects.
The relevance of this proposal lies in increasing the added value and the profitability of harvested food management, starting from their origin, by the prompt sorting of commodities in more accurate and homogeneous subgroups (quality grades). Primary processing techniques and adequate preservation processes would be assessed for the selected commodities to improve their shelf-life. Emerging preservation technologies will facilitate alternatives for low valued raw materials through the development of novel products.
The exchange scheme will take advantage of the complementarities and synergies generated by the four European leading partners (AZTI-Spain; DLO-The Netherlands; KUL-Belgium, AGROPARISTECH-France) and six Third Country leading partners (INTI-Argentina; AGRESEARCH-New Zealand; CSIRO-Australia; OSU-United States of America; ITESM-Mexico; USACH-Chile).