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Factors Affecting Quality and Postharvest Properties of Vegetables: Integration of Water Relations and Metabolism

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Growing of vegetables in the field, harvesting, handling in the packing house and storage are events in the lifetime of vegetables that are analysed from the point of view of the complex series of physiological transitions taking place in each of these events. Water is the major factor limiting plant metabolism and plants have developed fascinating mechanisms to cope with this limiting factor. Therefore, water relations (water, pressure and osmotic potential) are used as criteria for discussing plant stress physiology aspects such as osmotic, elastic adjustment and cold acclimation, as well as mechanical stress when the vegetable is harvested and during handling in the packing house. Consequences for the storage potential and quality of the vegetable are discussed. After harvesting, the postharvest cell has the ability to complete a complex series of physiological transitions that will influence vegetable quality and further processing operations. Metabolic changes in the cytosol, cell membrane and cell wall are described.
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Keywords: mechanical stress; storage stability; stress physiology; water relations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Engineering Lund University P.O. Box 124 SE-221 00 Lund Sweden 2: Inst. f. Agrartechnik Bornim e.V., Abt. Technik im Gartenbau Max-Eyth-Allee 100, D-14469 Potsdam Germany

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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