01 Introduction - Copy

01 Introduction - Copy - PLS 172 Lecture 1 1 of 12...

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PLS 172 Lecture 1 1 of 12 POSTHARVEST LOSSES OF HORTICULTURAL COMMODITIES Mikal E. Saltveit, Dept. Plant Sciences, UC Davis TABLE OF CONTENTS Topic page Scope of postharvest physiology 1 What is postharvest physiology 1 Historical perspective 2 The global picture 3 Postharvest losses 4 What is to be preserved 5 Future developments 5 Importance of postharvest losses 6 Causes of losses after harvest 8 The control of deterioration 10 Conclusions 12 References 12 SCOPE OF POSTHARVEST PHYSIOLOGY World food production and consumption are delicately balanced. There are presently over 6 billion people competing for the earth's limited resources, and world population threatens to double early in the 21 century. Providing sufficient food and fiber to maintain an ade- quate standard of living among the billions of people in both the developed and developing countries will be of paramount importance in the coming decades. The pes- simistic outlook of a few decades ago has brightened considerably, in part due to the implementation of better postharvest practices. Countries like China, India and Bangladesh, that were major importers of food are now either exporters or self-sufficient in many staple food crops. However, much additional work is needed to protect these gains and to improve agricultural prac- tices, because many countries remain unable to either adequately feed or clothe their citizens. The traditional Western method of using capital- and energy-intensive agriculture to increase food pro- duction is often unsuited to the traditions and resources found in many developing countries. Farmers in devel- oping countries often are unable to obtain sufficient capital to obtain the fuel, machinery, irrigation supplies, fertilizers, or pesticides to take full advantage of the new, high yielding varieties. In addition, the demands of increasing populations in many countries have over- taxed their present system of agriculture and degraded its ability to supply sufficient food and fiber to meet their needs. Increasing food production by cultivating marginal lands is a poor prospect since it requires a large investment of scarce capital. Even if other coun- tries can continue to produce surplus food, poor coun- tries may be unable to afford the surplus. Reducing postharvest losses is a far less costly means of providing more food through the increased utilization of food already produced than is producing more food. Much of the food produced in the world either spoils, or loses part of its nutritive value before it is consumed. Some authorities have placed this world- wide loss as high as 50%. Even in a developed country like the United States, postharvest deterioration ac- counts for the loss of over 20% of all harvested crops. In the United States alone, these losses translate into
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2010 for the course AGRONOMY PLB174 taught by Professor Michaelreid during the Spring '10 term at UC Davis.

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01 Introduction - Copy - PLS 172 Lecture 1 1 of 12...

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