Innovative treatment, storage and packaging solutions for the pomegranate fruit sector

LEAD INSTITUTION:  Stellenbosch University
BENEFICIARY:  Pomegranate Industry

An integrated industry postharvest innovative solution for optimum fruit maturity, storage management and scientifically defined quality parameters for pomegranate fruit. The industry will have developed:

  1. A predictive optimum maturity index and characterise storage potential and shelf life for commercial pomegranate cultivars in consideration of the long supply chains.
  2. An indexed and defined quality disorders of SA grown pomegranates in support of national legislative post-harvest quality standards for export fruit.
  3. The industry will have an improved fruit cooling rate and quality by optimizing multi-scale packaging of pomegranates.

The envisaged impact of the outcome of this project on the pomegranate industry is listed below:

  1. A comprehensive maturity-predicting tool for farmers.
  2. The development of a colour chart for grading and sorting of pomegranate cultivars.
  3. Help to establish storage protocol four most important commercially cultivated pomegranate cultivars in South Africa.
  4. The outcome will provide a guiding tool for the local and export regulatory bodies on packaging, storage and transportation of pomegranate fruit.
  5. Human capacity development through the training of postgraduate students, who would acquire essential research skills.
  6. The project will strengthen research collaboration between pomegranate industry and academic institutions.

Research publications from this project will provide much needed knowledge to the SA pomegranate industry on when to harvest and how to handle pomegranates during postharvest.