NEW cool storage technology was the topic of yesterday's Apple and Pear Australia Limited seminar.More than 75 growers, researchers, packers, scientists and processors attended the Post Harvest Cool Store seminar at Department of Primary Industries headquarters in Knoxfield, Melbourne, to discuss updates on the most efficient ways to manage cool rooms and fruit during the post-harvest window.
APAL technical manager Jesse Reader said the turnout was fantastic and showed they'd chosen the right topic.
"Realistically, the fruit spends more time post-harvest than it does on the tree, so this is an important area,'' Mr Reader said.
"We need to make sure we're maintaining the quality of the fruit at harvest so it's just as good when we pull it out at the other end.''
He said delegates discussed trends in cool room technology, maintaining optimal quality and tweaking of old technology to keep costs low.
"For example, rather than installing a new cool room, try sealing your existing room to better maintain the temperature,'' Mr Reader said.
"The industry is needing to get a better understanding of the storage process from an energy point of view.
"Refrigeration is our biggest user of energy, so we spent time identifying that and talked about changes that could help.''
The latest trends and research on the application of Smartfresh treatment were discussed.
The product has been on the market for seven years and has made it's mark on the industry.
Smartfresh is used to "put fruit to sleep'' while in storage - maintaining firmness, sugar and crunchiness.
"We've had huge results over the past seven years, so it's been an absolute game changer,'' Mr Reading said.
"It allows us to store fruit for an extended period of time and taken our reliance off chemicals.''
International guest Alex van Schaik, a post-harvest quality and technology scientist from Wageningen, Holland, spoke about DA metres and dynamic control systems.
"We're looking at ways to lower oxygen concentration on storage in a safe way,'' Mr van Schaik said.
"We use storage systems in Europe which are not yet used here.
"These different technologies include the measure of respiration, ethanol, oxygen concentration and fluid in the fruit.''
Mr van Schaik spoke on the effective use of DA metres, which measure fruit maturity by sending NIR (near infra red) beams into the fruit and receive feedback about density and oxygen levels.
International AgroFresh representative Brad Tukey spoke at the event and delivered information on current research on maintaining high quality fruit in storage.
Grower Kevin Sanders said the seminar was an excellent outcome for the industry.