"Something has gone wrong if you find good fruit in supermarkets," stated Enrico Turoni from TR Turoni during the "Nuove soluzioni e nuove sfide in ortofrutta" (New solutions and challenges for the fresh produce sector) convention organized by Laboratorio Sicural on Friday, October 11th 2019 in Cesena.
The audience and the speakers at the Sicural convention held in Cesena on Friday October 11th 2019
"The current system is organized in such a way that supermarkets only receive fruit with an unsuitable ripening level, which is justified as it lasts longer throughout the various passages along the chain. I say this because, thanks to technology, we can push this ripening point further so as to improve organoleptic qualities and increase consumption."
Technicians and growers must face challenges such as climate change, weeds and strict retail chain protocols day after day and the Laboratorio acts as a partner for companies.
After the greetings of vice-president Silver Giorgini and an introduction by Silvia Zuccherelli, Turoni described some of the most popular tools to assess fruit quality. "FruitFirm is the new frontier when it comes to assessing the freshness of blueberries and cherries in a non-destructive manner. It measures the deceleration of a small tip hitting the surface of the fruit."
Vincenzo Michele Sellitto
Vincenzo Michele Sellitto from Ms Biotech explains that, according to international studies, agriculture is affects climate change by 20%. "I always say that soil is alive and that the agricultural world must know how to manage it to obtain the best from an agricultural point of view without impoverishing it. Plants, microorganisms and the sun are all linked together."
The Sicural staff
"We need to be able to manage organic matter before reaching a point of no return.The soil contains 2-3 times the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere, so we can see the effect this can have on the climate."
Giusy Riciputi discussed the latest solutions available to support Sicural clients, illustrating how the new software guarantees a quicker result management so as to improve the service provided to clients.
Recently, Sicural obtained the Accredia certification for the dry matter parameter. "This means our protocol to assess this parameter is certified and standardized, which is very important to guarantee a data that often affects settlements and sale prices."
Maverik Bezzi explained how "over the past six years, we performed 17,071 analyses. There were 2393 non-compliance cases, i.e. around 2%. We mostly analyzed peaches, pears, apricots and plums. Thanks to our state-of-the-art equipment and the new protocols, the processed samples are in constant growth."
The debate that followed revealed how analyses can also be crucial to choose the land. "Analyse the soil and water before making a purchase can help verify whether we are making the right move or just provide additional parameters."
Professor Guglielmo Costa asked if Sicural has ever verified whether there is a relation between soil type and certain diseases such as kiwifruit decline.
"We have not been asked to do so yet but, thanks to our skills, we could come up with a protocol to perform specific analyses," replied Giorgini.
Sicural president Patrizio Neri stressed how the lab will keep investing when it comes to both skilled personnel and technology to provide excellent services to the entire fresh produce sector.