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Optimisation and adjustment of post-harvest parameters of baltic vegetables in controlled atmosphere

Nutritional conditions and plant protection technologies differ for vegetables grown in the baltics. This influences storage ability in ca. Investigations on most appropriate gas composition and temperature will be conducted. Technology for quality and prolonged storage period will be elaborated.

Over recent years, vegetable production in LATVIA and in LITHUANIA has had a tendency to grow. At the same time new organisations of producers have been developing. Common logistic and marketing systems develop rapidly. Therefore qualitative long term storage facilities become important. In Western and Central Europe vegetables are stored in controlled atmospheres (CA) already. Nevertheless the composition of biologically active compounds and other factors influencing storage ability for Baltic vegetables differs from vegetables produced in Europe due to different climatic and soil conditions as well as plant protection technology. Till now storage has been organised in storage rooms with controlled temperature and relative humidity, but not gas composition. Therefore the marketing period is often relatively short and at the end of the winter, spring mostly imported vegetables are offered for customers. Latvian vegetable growers are able to produce high quality vegetables in broad assortments, but a limiting factor is the short marketing period and high mass and quality losses during storage periods. The solution is vegetable storage in CA. This technology has not been investigated for vegetables in any Baltic country so far. It notably concerns long term storage of onion, carrot, root celeriac, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli. Such products as squash, dill, lettuce and spring onions need prolonged storage conditions for effective marketing. The aim of the project is to develop new technology for vegetable storage in CA. As an outcome of the project a new product will be developed on the basis of the results of investigations on CA use for vegetables "Technology for long term and prolonged storage conditions for Baltic vegetables in controlled atmosphere" with precise gas environment parameters. The following tasks are planned to achieve the aim of the project: 1) To develop gas composition models of long term storage in several variants (4-5 according to crop) based on the literature and experience gained in other countries; 2) To place in experimental cages around 20 samples in 4 replications and to store them in different gas composition conditions; 3) To analyse biochemical composition for all 20 samples in 4 replications before placing in storage, periodically during storage and at the end of storage; 4) To detect vegetable quality visually, metrically, and by sensory testing during all the storage period once a month; 5) To develop gas composition models of prolonged storage conditions in several variants (3-4 according to crop) and place 4 samples in 4 replications from each crop; 6) Develop "Technology for long term and prolonged storage conditions for Baltic vegetables in controlled atmosphere" based on the results obtained in the investigations. Three partners are involved in the project from Latvia: the PURE HORTICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTRE, logistic and packaging centre "BALTIJAS DARZENI" and INSTITUTE OF SOIL AND PLANT SCIENCES OF LATVIAN ACADEMY OF AGRICULTURE. PURE HRC has experience and knowledge in the organisation of the investigations in vegetable growing and storage; implementation of scientific projects, including international; accessible storage rooms in traditional storage houses (with circulation of cooled air). Laboratory equipment allows for detecting part of the investigated traits - firmness and content of sugars. Nevertheless for complete analysis of samples, the LITHUANIAN INSTITUTE OF HORTICULTURE has to be involved in the project. Small volume cameras with precise gas composition are available to detect polyphenols, carotinoides and antioxidants, as well as texture, colour and structure changes. Mutually coordinated investigations in one season allows for investigating more gas composition variants. In the frame of the project the plan is to purchase a gas analyser with additional software to ensure a precise gas atmosphere. LPKC "BALTIJAS DARZENI" will ensure the necessary vegetable samples, their harvesting, transportation and part of the prolonged storage investigations for leafy vegetables. This partner will ensure the necessary information about the mineral composition of samples, as well as soil analyses. The INSTITUTE OF SOIL AND PLANT SCIENCES OF LATVIAN ACADEMY OF AGRICULTURE will ensure plant pathology investigations of the samples. UAB "BALTIC MASTER" possesses its own equipment for storage of fruit and vegetables in controlled atmospheres, central systems of refrigeration supply, equipment from stainless steel, shelf equipment and doors for cold-storage chambers. This undoubtedly gives additional advantages for implementation of the individual projects. Contribution to project: develop, together with the LITHUANIAN INSTITUTE OF HORTICULTURE and scientists at the PURE HORTICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTRE new technological elements of vegetable storage in controlled atmosphere to reduce storage costs and make vegetable storage in controlled atmospheres a lucrative business.
Acronym: 
BaltVegStor
Project ID: 
5 363
Start date: 
01-04-2010
Project Duration: 
31months
Project costs: 
450 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Horticulture technology
Market Area: 
Horticulture

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