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Postharvest research and its contribution to export in

Israel: grape production as a model

Dr Amnon Lichter
Department of Postharvest Science
ARO, The Volcani Center

The significance of postharvest research to export and


local markets
In general the cost of production after harvest is about
50% of the total cost.
Therefore investment in proper postharvest practice is
essential to minimize losses.
The presence of infrastructure for postharvest research
ensures that problems and modifications can be handled
and performed in a professional manner.
Local markets can be negative or positive drivers of quality

The Table grape model


The investment in labor to prepare vineyards for high
quality grape production is estimated at 30% of annual
cost.
Strong local market and presence of strong local producer
derives quality to high standards.
Maintenance of high quality in local markets persuades
importers to buy fruit from farmers with good practice.
If there is one standard for local markets and export
companies export can be done upon demand at any time
during the season.

In the case of table grapes there are 2 major export


windows.
1.Early production in May when fruit from South Africa
and Chile is no longer available
2.A mountain of grapes in the middle of the season
makes export very economical.
In addition local storage extends the season by 3-4
month and there is minor export of fruit from local
storage
For Table grapes export serves as a buffer for the
local market.

The Avocado/Pepper model


Export is a major driver of quality. The overall production is
much larger than local market demands.
The local markets serves as a buffer for the export and as a
source of sale of low grade produce.

Example what can be done for tomato


Tomato model
Medium export due to competition export is reserved to
niche produce such as cluster tomato (this niche
developed over the last 10 years to 0.5 M tons in EU
market).
In tomato fluctuations in production make export less
profitable. Cold stress causes attenuation of supply > rise
in fruit price in the local market > decline in profitability to
export tomato.

Firmness (gr/mm)

Rotem
290
280
270
260
250
240
230

Control

MCP

Control

15.1.07

MCP
22.1.07

Rotem

Color (h)

50
46
42
38
34
30
Control

MCP
15.1.07

Control

MCP
22.1.07

Semi commercial experiment with 1-MCP to delay


ripening and extend the season in cherry tomato

Orange
12C

100

80
Decay (%)

60

Cheek Severe

Cheek Initial

40

Stem end

20

b
0

Severe Stem

b
C 300 600
600
1

C
2

300 600
C 300 600
3

300
4

end Initial

Experiments in avocado
and apples with 1-MCP
to delay ripening, reduce
decay and storage
disorders
1-MCP

Control

Postharvest research: the Israeli model

Structure of the department of postharvest science

Vegetabl
es 4
Root vegetables

Phytopathology

2
1
Fruit

Transgenics

Fresh cut

Herbs
Flower
s

In large (and rich) countries postharvest science is


scattered
In small countries (especially isolated countries) it
makes sense to bring together all the postharvest
scientists.
This can produce competition among them but also fast
dissemination of knowledge across the board.
The key is to build a successful structure is to minimize
overlap and build synergistic interactions
It is also important to keep tight connections with the
industry, the farmers and the consumers.

Lessons from the Israeli export system

The situation in the past


One big company
One medium company
Three small companies
The big company had:
A network of growers and product managers
Logistic and R&D department s
Ships and a network of branches in Europe
Investment in new knowledge and support of research was high
Researchers had an address to address problems
Standard quality was maintained at high level
Competition was low and wastage was high
Large investments failed to deliver
Keeping the entire network was costly

The situation today


The big company did not make it.
The medium company became big
The smaller exporters kept there share or became smaller
More than a hundreds of small companies joined the race
Competition became very high
R&D was broken down
A lot of knowledge was lost
The standards became low
Incidents of low quality export reflected on all the
companies
The association between Israel as a label of quality
deteriorated.

Achievements in grape production and export in Israel


Advancing ripening
Delaying ripening
Improving grape quality
Study of factors affecting sensitivity to decay
Improving current storage methods
Development of alternative storage technologies

Application of ABA to advance ripening: the extreme case

Control

400 / 800 ppm S-ABA

Distribution of fruit color (%)

Ethrel facilitates reduction in the amount of ABA


7.9
28.4

31.0

30.7

74.3

Dark

73.2

Mediu
61.1

58.7

62.7

Light
Green

Control

18.8

17.8

9.9

S-ABA

S-ABA

Ethrel

200

400

0.05%

10.6
E+S
200+0.05%

Advancing production of Flame Seedless - Jordan Valley


Control

Ethrel X 2

S-ABA 600 ppm

Delaying maturation of Thompson Seedless with the cytokinin CPPU

Multiplex3 portable autofluoresence instrument to


measure fruit quality in the vineyard

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0
1

SFR_G

3
SFR_R

FER_RUV

6
FER_RG

8
NBI_G

9
NBI_R

FLR (NBI; FER_RG)

FLR (FER_RUV; SFR)

The effect of CPPU on chlorophyll level in Thompson Seedless grapes


2.9
2.7

SFR_R

2.5
2.3
2.1

Contro
l
2ppm
1st

1.9

4ppm

1.7

1st
2ppm
2nd
4ppm
2nd

1.5

Delay of maturation of Thompson Seedless grapes with CPPU

Rachis Browning after storage

After Harvest

After Storage

Image analysis

Comparison of subjective and objective measurements


Thompson

Thompson

Rachis Index

2d

4d

7d

Browning (Br-50)

5
11

d4

1.0
2d

0.8

4d

30.6
0.

42
0.2
1

VP
D
RH
T

0.06

0.07
0.68

0.41

95

97

67

10

20

11

0.0

VP

0.06

0.07

0.41

0.68

70

95

97

67

70

19

RH

10

20

11

19

The effect of packaging on rachis quality in 4 table grape cultivars


0.6

BR-50

0.5

Control
Packaging

a
a

0.4
0.3

a
0.2
0.1
0.0

C
Cultiva
rs

Prolonging storage of grapes by improved control of SO2 release

SO2
2-
120
DR-O
VL9-5d

100
SO2 ppm

VL3
80
60
40
20
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

180

Combination of sanitation and modified atmosphere


for improved storage of grapes
25

CO2 (%)

20

XF

PE

20

25

45
d

15
10
5
0

Decay (%)

10

15

40
30

30

35

20
b
c
0

Ethanol

MA

MA+EtOH

45
d
+3

10

Control

b
c

Specific liners with control of


excess RH

Air-phase control of decay during storage

EF

C
o
nt

Air-phase control of fungal development


0h

6h
h

1h

3h

12 h

24

T0=0

0h

6h

1h

12 h

24 h
T0=24 h

The question: who do we work for

The Abubaker family


Chad
1.23 $ a week

The Malander family


Germany
500 $ a week

The truth is probably in the middle