New research aims to reduce risk of produce bruising, minimize food waste
A newly funded research project aims to reduce the risk of potato bruising and develop technologies to minimize food waste.
Research led by agritech research and development business B-hive innovations, based in the United Kingdom, could eventually lead to automatic sorting of fresh produce by bruising risk, according to a news release.
B-hive has been awarded funding by national agency Innovate UK to embark on the nine-month TuberTurgor project in partnership with National Physical Laboratory scientists. The research team will investigate nondestructive methods to measuring turgor pressure, which is the force inside cells that pushes outward, allowing the cells to withstand shocks and reduce bruising.
“Growers and supermarkets are increasingly impacted by potato bruising that is brought on by prolonged periods of drought from rising global temperatures,” Barbara Correia, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and TuberTurgor project lead at B-hive, said in the release. “This can drastically increase susceptibility to bruising damage during handling, so there is a supply-chain need to investigate how this can be reduced through devising early, nondestructive detection measures.”
B-hive will test a series of prospective measuring methods and explore a range of techniques, including physical hardness measures, ultrasonic and spectroscopic testing, and high-resolution imaging, according to the release.
The first testing phase, from August to October, will determine the most successful testing approaches. The second phase, from November until the project is expected to be completed in March, will gather data for the most promising techniques.
“NPL has a long history in the development of measurement techniques, and we are excited to be able to apply our expertise to an issue that so directly influences agricultural productivity and the environment,” Tony Maxwell, technical lead at the National Physical Laboratory, said in the release.
More information about B-hive is available online.
“Bruising contributes to enormous losses in productivity and reputational damage for both growers and supermarkets,” Andrew Gill, B-hive general manager, said. “We are delighted to have secured funding that could help to retain a high overall quality of end produce as growers face ongoing challenges to manage their crop.”