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Advances and current challenges in understanding postharvest abiotic stresses in perishables

Pedreschi, Romina, Lurie, Susan
Postharvest biology and technology 2015 v.107 pp. 77-89
abiotic stress, carbon dioxide, cold, controlled atmosphere storage, epigenetics, food quality, heat, metabolomics, oxygen, phenotype, postharvest losses, postharvest technology, proteomics, shelf life, transcriptomics
Postharvest abiotic stresses impact not only quality, eating and nutritional attributes of perishables but shelf life and susceptibility to physiological and pathological disorders and thus postharvest losses. Classical postharvest technologies involve applying stress conditions (cold, controlled atmosphere conditions, addition of chemicals) to extend storage and shelf-life. However, recent research has concerned itself with understanding the mechanisms by which abiotic stresses affect postharvest commodity quality. Thus, holistic approaches that incorporate the use of transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic platforms, complemented with biochemical analysis as well as phenotyping are being used to understand stress physiology and its complex regulation at the different levels of cellular control (e.g., epigenetic control, post-transcriptional, post-translational) in order to develop and improve current technological processes. This review aims to highlight key methodological points that need to be addressed for further understanding of key postharvest abiotic stresses (cold/heat, low oxygen/high carbon dioxide and dehydration) and to review research over the last ten years dedicated to understanding postharvest abiotic stresses.