Post Harvest Technology Unit (PHT)

The Post Harvest Technology Unit at ARU Writtle engages in teaching, short courses, research and consultancy work in the fields of post harvest, sustainability and supply chain management, particularly in relation to cold storage and international transport.

To date, the wide range of species they have studied include potatoes, strawberries, apples, mangoes, avocados, pineapples, cut flowers, and medical marijuana.

Their current research focuses upon disease reduction in stored fruits and vegetables using non-chemical treatments, and the pre-harvest treatment of cut flowers to improve postharvest longevity.

Temperature management

Principal Investigator: Simon Jones

Examination of temperature management implications of differing packaging formats including Returnable Plastic Crates (RPCs), Display Ready Cartons (DRCs) with loose and bagged produce.

Medical marijuana

Principal investigators: Simon Jones and Prof Peter Hobson

Analysis of differing production and post harvest practices in the medical marijuana supply chain with a focus on Jamaica. Also examining the engagement of value chain actors in the development of the new medical marijuana scheme in Jamaica including government, farmers and processors.

New areas of work include measuring the sustainability of medical marijuana production including the development of a product carbon footprint describing different production and post harvest processes in different countries including Jamaica, Canada and the US.

Carbon footprints

Principal investigators: Simon Jones and Prof Peter Hobson

Development of carbon footprints from farm to fork including environmental benchmarking.

We offer a comprehensive consultancy service in post harvest technology, having delivered professional training courses in English, French and Spanish. Examples include:

  • UK: Professional training and commercial trials for commercial companies, supermarkets, suppliers to major retailers, grower groups, packaging suppliers, and governmental organisations.
  • Brazil: World Bank Jaiba project to improve the export potential of Jaiba's crops through design of a post harvest perishable facility for airfreight and fresh processing.
  • East Timor: (EU/Landell Mills supported) Post harvest training for small farmers; technical inputs into micro-finance projects.
  • Egypt: (EU supported) Cold storage and cold chain – provision of specific post harvest advice and designs for producers and exporters; provision of data on existing practices and providing training seminars; training delivered to exporters on UK visits.
  • Ethiopia: (USAID) Agricultural training and export promotion (ATEP) project assisting with development of horticultural exports.
  • Jordan: (Vakakis) World Bank project improving infrastructure for horticultural exports – part of team carrying out training of extension staff.
  • Kenya: (DFID supported) Residential training for government, NGOs and private companies incorporating theory and practical procedures relating to post harvest aspects of export crops.
  • Kenya: (USAID supported Fintrac) Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project assisting with the development of orange fleshed sweet potatoes for export and the national market.
  • Lebanon: (ADC VOCA/USAID supported) Training and technical consultancy on post harvest of cut flowers for growers and retailers.
  • Mauritius: (EU supported) Provision of specific post harvest advice and marketing programmes to develop high value horticultural production for export and local markets.
  • Pakistan: (USAID supported CNFA) Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF) assistance on improving the cold chain for local and export markets.
  • Uganda: (USAID supported) Post harvest handling and cold chain for cut flowers – temperature monitoring and postharvest practices evaluation with various exporters with particular emphasis on the handling procedures; related specific training and recommendations.

Tshwenyane, S. O., Cullum, F. J, Bishop, C. F. H. and Gash, A. F. J. (2012) 'Effects of Carbon Dioxide Enriched Atmospheres on the Postharvest Control of Botrytis of "Duett" Cut Roses', Acta Hort, 934, pp. 441-447.

Bishop, C. F. H., Bingley, E. and Matthews, H. (2011) 'The Value of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships as a Tool for Capacity Building within the Kenyan Horticulture Sector', Acta Hort, 921, pp. 143-149.

Belletti, P., Cullum, J., Gorian, F., Monteleone, I. and Piotto, B. (2003) 'The use of a compost activator to overcome seed dormancy in Rosa canina L.'. In: Ciccarese, L., Lucci, S. and Mattsson, A. (Eds) (2003) Proceedings of the conference “Nursery production and stand establishment of broadleaves to promote sustainable forest management", Rome, Italy, May 7-10, 2001. Rome: APAT.