Postharvest Quality, Biological Basis, the Molecular Mechanism of Ripening and Senescence of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables (F&V) are an important part of a healthy diet, and variety is as important as quantity. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite. Eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables may even promote weight loss.
However, studies conducted by various international and national organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), European Union (EU), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States (US) and French Natural Resources Defense Councils (NRDC), the UK Waste Resource Action Program (WRAP), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), as well as many other governments, including Japan, China, India, various EU countries, etc., indicated that about a half of all F&V are lost during harvest, storage, transportation, retail and consumption.
According to FAO reports, the categories “F&V” and “roots and tubers” account for 44 and 20% by weight, respectively, of the global total food loss and waste, i.e., fruit and vegetables of all types together account for 66% by weight of total food losses. Furthermore, FAO reports indicate that between 45 and 55% of all F&V produced worldwide are lost or wasted along the supply chain, and the NRDC report indicated that 52% of all F&V produced in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand combined, are lost or wasted.
According to the USDA, in the US alone F&V losses in the retail and consumption stages are estimated at 18.4 and 25.2 billion pounds, (8.3 and 11.4 million tons) respectively. More specifically, of the total amount of F&V available for consumption at the retail and consumer levels in the US, 9% of fruit and 8% of vegetables are lost at the retail stage, and a further 19% of fruit and 22% of vegetables are not eaten at the consumption stage; i.e., in the US roughly 28% of fruit and 30% of vegetables are lost in these two stages. A material flow analysis study conducted in Japan revealed that the single food category with the highest loss rate comprised vegetables. Therefore, reducing F&V losses should be one of the leading global strategies for achieving sustainable food security.
This special issue is intended to discuss the postharvest quality, biological basis, the molecular mechanism of ripening and senescence of Fruits and vegetables mainly in fruits and vegetables. This will serve as a comprehensive special issue for researchers, educators, and food processors and product developers providing an up-to-date insight into fruits and vegetables.