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How can metabolomics help postharvest science?

Up to date, postharvest science has been using much genomics, and started using transcriptomics and proteomics recently. Gene expression resulting from natural processes, plant-microbe interactions, physiological disorders or, biotic or biotic stresses or other inducing phenomena, trigger many metabolic processes leading to the formation of hundreds of metabolites. Besides being specific to metabolic pathway, some of these metabolites have a very short life time and are indicators of specific metabolic reaction. Indeed, many metabolites are well known to be elicited during specific stresses, and these elicited components could be involved in accelerating undesirable processes, or to the contrary, triggering certain resistance of commodities to these undesirable processes. Metabolome profiling of the system biology constitutes a good survey of the different metabolites resulting from different reactions of different pathways. Profiling the metabolites preceding, during and/or following the stresses or any other process, would indicate the behavior of the produce not only at the whole level, but also at the cellular, even the compartmental (cell organelles) levels. This understanding would likely help to determine the appropriate conditions of storage and/or the physical treatments, such as modified atmosphere/controlled atmosphere, to divert the metabolism towards the desired pathway, or at least slow down the production of the undesirable metabolites by reducing the speed of the respective reactions. The issues of these results will also lead to make commodities acquire a self-defense, and extending the shelf-life of commodities with less stress and better quality attributes.... Read more

A key role for food science and technology in alleviating poverty

In an attempt to alleviate world poverty, there has been a huge emphasis on food production over the past few decades, with less emphasis given to processing, packaging and post-harvest treatment of that food so that it reaches the final consumer in a safe and nutritious form. Food science and technology does have a valuable role to play in alleviating food insecurity but its role is known largely only to professionals such as those reading this View. In order to reverse the situation, IUFoST is publishing a handbook.... Read more