Keywords: postharvest innovation, sensors, compression damage, impact damage, technological innovation, mechanical handling systems, produce damage, bruise size, postharvest handling, mechanical damage, fresh fruit, vegetables
Technological innovations in sensors for assessment of postharvest mechanical handling systems
Produce damage is a major cause of large postharvest losses internationally. The current level of technology that can enable researchers and industry to understand the mechanical reasons for these levels of damage is discussed. The use of pseudo-fruit to measure the forces acting in the postharvest system can enable repeatable force profiles to be established. Both compression and impact damage events are considered. By using damage studies carried out in a controlled manner and covering the expected range of forces provide the data to allow prediction of expected damage. A probabilistic description for damage likelihood is introduced that describes the damage in terms of the proportion of a product's population that will sustain some commercially significant bruise size. These two relationships can then be combined to provide an estimate of the level of damage that can be expected from any handling event.