Postharvest Pathology & Waste Reduction

The Postharvest research program in the Plant Health and Safety group at the University of Pretoria is focused at developing strategies and technologies to reduce food wastage and losses in the fresh produce supply chain. Key research areas include microbiome studies in relation to postharvest disease control (biopesticide development) of fruit, the application of artificial intelligence (smart fruit) for physiological sensing, quality and decay assessments along fruit supply chains and development of indicators and models for disease predictions, with an aim of reducing fresh produce losses and waste at the postharvest stage. Research is mainly focused on rapid detection and characterization of postharvest fresh produce pathogens, understanding host-pathogen interactions, microbial ecology and dynamics in fruits and vegetables, and development of innovative strategies and technologies for postharvest disease control in fresh produce. The aims of the research group are to:

  • explore the relationship between potential biocontrol genera and postharvest pathogens and disease expression,
  • identify microbial indicators for postharvest disease development,
  • develop a tree health microbiome index,
  • develop a microbiome-assisted biopesticide (biocontrol product) amongst other alternative strategies for postharvest disease control in fresh produce and other commercially important fruit and vegetables in South Africa and,
  • apply artificial intelligence (smart fruit/vegetable) for physiological sensing, quality and decay assessments along fresh produce supply chains.
Current Projects in Postharvest Pathology and Waste Reduction



-- Updated March 2022 --

- Author : Malick Bill

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