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New Network of UK Post-harvest Research Facilities Established

A new network of post-harvest research facilities has been established across the United Kingdom, a Sept. 12 news release from The James Hutton Institute said. The development comes following the recent contraction of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) along with the closure of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research — both of who did potato storage research work.

“In order to protect food supply chains and minimise food waste it is vital that resources for research to improve crop handling and storage are fit for purpose. This cannot be covered by an individual organization but requires a strong national network,” Sheryl Hendriks, director of the Natural Resources Institute in the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the the University of Greenwich, said in the release.

The Crop Storage and Post-harvest Solutions (CSPS) facility network spans across three strategic locations within the UK. The release noted the newly established network is due to a collaborative partnership between ADAS, Crop Health and Protection, the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich, and the James Hutton Institute. The facilities offer a diverse range of advanced capabilities including the ability to simulate multiple supply chain environments while exercising precise control and monitoring over essential storage conditions – temperature, humidity, and atmospheric composition such as variable CO2 levels.

Initial research priorities will focus on developing pre- and post-harvest monitoring and modelling techniques to predict storage potential, as well as supply chain tracking and monitoring, optimizing store management for energy efficiency, exploring automation and labour-saving opportunities, testing potato sprout suppressant technologies, and evaluating sustainable packaging materials, the release said.