LPLK10348U  Quality and Postharvest Biology of Plant Products

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Agriculture
Modern plant production has changed from local production to global production chains. The organisation of production chains necessitates knowledge of product quality and postharvest biology to maintain high value produce. This course will give a fundamental understanding of many aspects of postharvest biology, and internal and external factors determining quality and postharvest performance.
The content of the course is postharvest biology, especially physiological and biochemical processes determining quality and longevity of plant products, postharvest technology, handling and transportation, storage, physiological disorders during storage as well as postharvest diseases caused by bacteria and fungi, maturation and maturity indices, postharvest physiology of flowers, distribution of ornamentals, evaluation of quality, quality assessment, consumer preferences and behaviour.
Another focus of the course are postharvest diseases caused by bacteria and fungi and how these relates to changes in physiology and biochemistry of harvested products during handling, storage and distribution will be addressed. The important role of mycotoxins for plant product quality will also be addressed.

The course is structured as follows:
- Introductory part
- Factors determining quality and postharvest perfomance
- Postharvest physiology and biochemistry
- Plant pathology: Biology of postharvest diseases and the risk of mycotoxin production
- Study in groups and conduction of several exercises
Learning Outcome
The aim of the course is to give basic knowledge about modern production chains and postharvest biology of plants. Focus is on understanding of physiology, biochemistry and pathology of plant products in relation to quality, postharvest handling and storage. The importance of genetic material and preharvest factors, as well as environmental conditions and handling during distribution and storage for quality, postharvest diseases and shelf life of plant produce will be discussed.
The course fits well in the curriculum of Horticultural Science, Agricultural Science, Food Science. Students of Agricultural Development and Biology will find it relevant as well.

After completing the course the students should be able to:

- demonstrate basic knowledge on physiology, pathology, biochemistry and molecular biology of plant products during the postharvest period
- understand external and internal factors, which are influencing quality
- reflect about the relevance of modern production chain management, i.e. from place of production to the place of consumption.
- understand the underlying physiology and biochemistry of plant products during ripening

- apply and analyse methods of postharvest technology and postharvest disease control
- diagnose and analyse postharvest diseases in relation to the underlying biology, and assess how they affect quality of plant products
- explain the underlying physiology, biochemistry and pathological aspects which can lead to postharvest diseases of plant products during ripening, harvesting, storage and distribution
- analyse the risk of mycotoxin production as result of attack by postharvest diseases
- discuss quality in relation to values of consumers, distributors and producers

- cooperate with fellow students about the carrying out and reporting of postharvest experiments and diagnosis practicals
- evaluate the result of the exercises in relation to the aquired knowledge in postharvest biology and in relation to scientific literature
- work effectively in a group with a common project
Scientific articles and review articles from journals and other actual publications, to be decided at the beginning of the course.
The course will be structured in lectures, seminars, theoretical and practical exercises and excursions. The course comprises overviews, from general understanding to expert knowledge on key topics, and learning is based on lectures as well as independent learning through exercises, excursions and a final project work.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Exam registration requirements
3 exercise reports have to be accepted
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
If 10 or fewer register for the reexamination the examination form will be oral.
Criteria for exam assesment

The assessment will be based on the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Practical exercises
  • 68
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Theory exercises
  • 6
  • Preparation
  • 50
  • Excursions
  • 20
  • Total
  • 206