Special Issue "Fruit and Vegetable Quality and Bioactive Compounds at Harvest and during Postharvest Storage"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural and Floricultural Crops".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Pedro Javier Zapata
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of AgriFood Technology, EPSO, University Miguel Hernández, 03312 Orihuela, Alicante, Spain
Interests: postharvest; fruit quality; antioxidants; bioactive compounds; eco-friendly technologies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fruit and vegetables are an important source of antioxidant compounds. Fruit and vegetable quality is a distinctive factor in the food preferences of consumers, in addition to bioactive compound content with antioxidant properties due to the increase in health nutrition consciousness. However, both food quality and antioxidant compounds are usually affected by different factors at harvest and during postharvest storage, which leads to significant economic and nutritive losses.

To reduce food quality losses and maintain the health-related compound content, research is required to improve quality and functional parameters at harvest and during postharvest. Please share your success stories from research in fruit or vegetable quality and antioxidants around the world in this Special Issue. Submissions on (but not limited to) the following topics are invited: (1) pre- and postharvest factors related to fruit quality and bioactive compound content; (2) eco-friendly technologies or treatments, such as elicitors, to improve fruit quality and antioxidant content; (3) optimum strategies or tools to minimize postharvest fruit quality and functional losses.

Prof. Dr. Pedro Javier Zapata
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Antioxidant compounds
  • Food quality
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Preharvest factors
  • Postharvest factors
  • Anthocyanins
  • Vitamins
  • Carotenoids

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Antioxidant Properties, γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Content, and Physicochemical Characteristics of Tomato Cultivars
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061204 - 13 Jun 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Tomatoes are rich in secondary metabolites such as lycopene, β-carotene, phenolics, flavonoids, and vitamin C, which are responsible for their antioxidant activates. A high level of γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a health-promoting functional compound, was also found to accumulate in tomato fruit. In addition [...] Read more.
Tomatoes are rich in secondary metabolites such as lycopene, β-carotene, phenolics, flavonoids, and vitamin C, which are responsible for their antioxidant activates. A high level of γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a health-promoting functional compound, was also found to accumulate in tomato fruit. In addition to the internal quality attributes, the acceptance of the tomato fruit by consumers is highly dependent on appearance and taste. Hence, we conducted this study to evaluate ‘Tori’, ‘TY VIP’, ‘Mamirio’, and ‘Arya’ tomato cultivars based on their physicochemical characteristics, contents of secondary metabolites, and GABA content. The results have revealed that the tested cultivars were very firm, which renders them the best choice for postharvest distribution of fresh market tomatoes as they resist impacts during harvesting and postharvest operations. Based on total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), and Brix acid ratio (BAR) the choice of cultivar could be ‘Mamirio’ > ’Tori’ > ‘TY VIP’ > ‘Arya’. Apart from flavor intensity, ‘Mamirio’ and ’Tori’ also revealed the highest content of ascorbic acid while ‘Mamirio’ and ‘Arya’ had the highest carotenoids (lycopene and β-carotene) accumulation. On the other hand, the highest total phenolics content was recorded from ‘TY VIP’ and ‘Arya’. Moreover, the highest total flavonoids and GABA contents were recorded from ‘TY VIP’. Nevertheless, the antioxidant activity of ‘TY VIP’ was the lowest of all tested cultivars while the highest was recorded from ‘Mamirio’. Taken together, the findings of the present study could suggest that the consumers’ requirements could be better fulfilled by choosing cultivars for the specific target functional compounds. From the tested cultivars, if the target is ascorbic acid, carotenoids, and antioxidant activity then ‘Mamirio’ is the best choice. On the other hand, if the target is total phenolics, flavonoids, and GABA then ‘TY VIP’ is the best choice. One could also label ‘Mamirio’ as an ‘antioxidant tomato’ and ‘TY VIP’ as the ‘GABA tomato’. Full article
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Article
Melatonin Treatment of Apricot Trees Leads to Maintenance of Fruit Quality Attributes during Storage at Chilling and Non-Chilling Temperatures
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050917 - 07 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 408
Abstract
The effects of preharvest melatonin treatment on apricot crop yield and fruit quality properties at harvest and during storage have not yet been investigated. Apricot trees, of the ‘Colorado’ and ‘Mikado’ cultivars, were sprayed with 0.1 mM melatonin at three key points of [...] Read more.
The effects of preharvest melatonin treatment on apricot crop yield and fruit quality properties at harvest and during storage have not yet been investigated. Apricot trees, of the ‘Colorado’ and ‘Mikado’ cultivars, were sprayed with 0.1 mM melatonin at three key points of fruit development. Fruit were harvested at commercial ripening stage and yield was higher in melatonin treated trees than in the controls. Fruit were stored at 1 and 8 °C for 21 and 28 days, respectively. Samples were taken weekly and left at 20 °C for 1 day. Weight losses, as well as reduction in firmness and acidity, were delayed in fruits from melatonin treated trees, showing an effect of treatment on delaying the postharvest ripening process, which was attributed to a reduced ethylene production in both cultivars and at both storage temperatures. In addition, chilling injury symptoms were observed in apricots stored at 1 °C, which were reduced by preharvest melatonin treatment. Moreover, apricot from melatonin-treated fruit retained higher total phenolic content than the controls after 14 days of storage, although the phenolic profile was not affected by treatment. Thus, melatonin could be a useful tool for practical purposes to improve apricot crop yield and maintain fruit quality properties during storage. Full article
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Article
Melatonin Treatment of Pomegranate Trees Increases Crop Yield and Quality Parameters at Harvest and during Storage
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 861; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050861 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 409
Abstract
With the aim to study the effect of melatonin treatment of pomegranate trees on crop yield and fruit quality at harvest and during storage, two experiments were carried out in two consecutive years: 2017 and 2018. In the first year, trees were treated [...] Read more.
With the aim to study the effect of melatonin treatment of pomegranate trees on crop yield and fruit quality at harvest and during storage, two experiments were carried out in two consecutive years: 2017 and 2018. In the first year, trees were treated with melatonin (at 0.1 and 1 mM) along the developmental growth cycle and fruit quality parameters were evaluated at harvest and during storage at 10 °C for 90 days. Treatments with melatonin led to an increase of crop yield (number of fruits per tree and kg per tree), as well as higher fruit quality attributes, such as fruit size (diameter and weight), color, total soluble solids (TSS), and total acidity (TA), especially with the 0.1 mM dose. Then, in the second year, melatonin at 0.1 mM was selected for repeating the pre-harvest treatments with similar results in terms of crop yield and fruit quality parameters. During storage, pomegranate fruit treated with 0.1 mM melatonin maintained higher quality attributes than controls, such as TSS, TA, and firmness and lower weight losses were observed in fruit from treated trees, in both trials. In addition, the content of the major sugars (glucose and fructose) and organic acids (malic, succinic and ascorbic acid) were higher in melatonin-treated than in non-treated fruit. These results suggest that pre-harvest melatonin treatment could be a useful tool to increase pomegranate crop yield as well as fruit quality parameters at harvest and their maintenance during storage due to an effect of melatonin on reducing the postharvest ripening process. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Different Drying Methods on Primary and Secondary Metabolites in Korean Mint Flower
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040698 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 511
Abstract
Edible flowers have been used in the food and beverage industries because of their high nutritional value, flavor, and scent. For the storage of edible flowers used in these industries, drying is a necessity to store the materials more easily and prevent the [...] Read more.
Edible flowers have been used in the food and beverage industries because of their high nutritional value, flavor, and scent. For the storage of edible flowers used in these industries, drying is a necessity to store the materials more easily and prevent the damage of metabolites in the flowers. However, drying may affect metabolite retention because drying conditions can differ according to the various methods. In this study, Agastache rugosa flowers were dried using four different methods (oven drying at 25 ± 1 °C, 50 ± 1 °C, 80 ± 1 °C, and freeze drying) and primary and secondary metabolites were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF/MS). Freeze-dried flower samples contained higher levels of carotenoids (lutein, 13Z-β-carotene, β-carotene, and 9Z-β-carotene) and phenolics (rosmarinic acid, ferulic acid, and sinapic acid). Contrarily, the 80 °C oven-dried flower samples contained higher levels of most amino acids and flavonoids (including acacetin and tilianin) and at 25 °C and 50 °C contained higher levels of carbohydrates. Therefore, freeze-drying is a suitable method for retaining carotenoids and phenolics. In contrast, oven drying at 50 °C was highly recommended to retain amino acids and flavonoids. Full article
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Article
Effect of Compost Extract Addition to Different Types of Fertilizers on Quality at Harvest and Shelf Life of Spinach
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040632 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Spinach is rich in minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and bioactive compounds with health-beneficial effects; however, this plant also tends to accumulate oxalates and nitrates in their leaves. Apart from genotype, nutrition is the pre-harvest factor that mostly affects quality attributes at harvest. Particularly, the [...] Read more.
Spinach is rich in minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and bioactive compounds with health-beneficial effects; however, this plant also tends to accumulate oxalates and nitrates in their leaves. Apart from genotype, nutrition is the pre-harvest factor that mostly affects quality attributes at harvest. Particularly, the application of compost extracts (CE) may induce resistance against soil-borne diseases and favour secondary metabolism, increasing antioxidant capacity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of different types of fertilization with or without the addition of CE, on harvest quality and shelf life of minimally processed spinach (Spinacia oleracea, var. Shrike RZ) stored during 12 days at 4 °C. A compost extract (CE) was prepared by mixing a compost from agri-food wastes (vine pruning, leek waste and olive mill waste) with deionized water. CE foliar applications were done from days 28 and 56 after sowing. The treatments applied were: Control; Control + CE; NPK (inorganic NPK fertilizer 15-15-15); NPK + CE; DMPP (ENTEC Nitrofoska® plus the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP)) and DMPP + CE. After harvest, spinach leaves were minimally processed and packaged to generate a passive modified atmosphere. Nitrate content in the control treatment was reduced by the addition of CE, although in the rest of the treatments, CE addition did not produce any effect. For nitrite contents, the lowest value was obtained for the Control + CE. Moreover, the oxalate content was the lowest for the control treatment with a decreasing trend throughout the storage. The treatment Control + CE also showed the highest initial total phenolic contents, with very similar values at the end of shelf life to those observed at harvest for all the treatments. The highest differences in color as regards the initial values were detected for DMPP. Microbial loads increased for all the treatments without differences between them. The atmosphere reached at the end of the cold storage was the same for all the cases, with CO2 and O2 around 10 kPa for each one of them. After 12 days at 4 °C, all the treatments were above the limit of usability, with the spinach leaves acceptable for consumption. The results found in this study indicate that the addition of CE might be convenient for obtaining spinach rich in bioactive compounds and with low concentrations of antinutritional factors, without affecting the microbial load of the final product. Full article
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