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REDUCING POST-HARVEST LOSSES TO INCREASE FOOD SUSTAINABILITY

Final Report Summary - REPLAY (REDUCING POST-HARVEST LOSSES TO INCREASE FOOD SUSTAINABILITY)

Main postharvest losses are caused by physiological, pathological and physical damage; being these causes in many instances interrelated. Harvested products are highly heterogeneous and conventional postharvest approaches are not sufficient for an optimum profitability of these foodstuffs. These methods are usually based on controlling the physiological and sanitary status on pre-harvest, for which only a part of the harvest is analysed as a representative of the whole lot.
In order to overcome this problem, REPLAY have developed innovative procedures and methodologies for a sustainable management of post harvested food. This objective has been achieved through a staff exchange structure that will contribute to: (i) food quality assessment; (ii) processing technologies; (iii) food chain sustainability assessment; (iv) dissemination and (v) innovation and competitiveness. To strengthen these research areas, the project has promoted staff exchange and networking activities between European and Third Country partners, high-level training of personnel and to create and reinforce networks for future joint research projects.
The relevance of this proposal lies in increasing the added value and the profitability of harvested food management, starting from their origin, by the prompt sorting of commodities in more accurate and homogeneous subgroups. Primary processing techniques and adequate preservation processes have been assessed for the selected commodities to improve their shelf-life. Emerging preservation technologies have been studied as alternatives for low valued raw materials through the development of novel products.
The exchange scheme has taken advantage of the complementarities and synergies generated by the four European leading partners (AZTI-Spain; DLO-The Netherlands; KUL-Belgium, AGROPARISTECH-France) and six Third Country leading partners (INTI-Argentina; AGRESEARCH-New Zealand; CSIRO-Australia; OSU-United States of America; ITESM-Mexico; USACH-Chile).

At month 48, 36 secondments have been performed completing up to 64.59 P/M. In conclusion, the results have been very encouraging. The overall opinion of the researchers and hosts points out the fantastic opportunity that REPLAY has been for researchers and early stage researchers. New projects, joint scientific publications and tight relations among research groups are the greater results of this project. They reflect the valuable opportunity that REPLAY project has been for the researcher and the good experiences lived in the hosting institutions.