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Spain: Pomegranate shelf life extended by almost 100 days

A team of researchers from the Institute of Plant Biotechnology of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) have managed to produce high quality pomegranates with a shelf life of almost 100 days, while reducing water consumption during cultivation by up to 40%. The fruits are also ideal for the processing industry, to be sold peeled, washed, packed and ready for consumption, reaching in this case a shelf life of 20 days. As a result of post-harvest treatments, the fruit is rich in healthy bioactive compounds.

These results have been achieved with the thesis titled Combined pre and post-harvest physical stresses to preserve the quality of whole and minimally processed pomegranates, defended by María Elisa Peña and directed by Perla Gómez and Francisco Artés.

The thesis presents the technological conditions to market the fruit, fresh or processed, optimising resources and making use of sustainable techniques. The project's directors stress the importance of these results. "Consumers and exporters will obtain a high quality product and growers will significantly reduce water use," explain Artés and Gómez.

The Region of Murcia is one of the most affected by water shortages in Spain; consequently, many research groups are currently looking for strategies that can help reduce water consumption in agriculture. Deficit irrigation, for instance, consists in providing the crop with water at specific phenological moments, and pomegranates, which contain numerous beneficial compounds, can be cultivated under these conditions.

Source: Laverdad

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