11.6 Extending storage life

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One broad approach to conferring longer storage life on any plant product is to slow metabolism by holding material at low temperature. Additional methods introduced since the 1960s have been superimposed on cool storage and fall into two general classes: specific gas atmospheres to slow fruit metabolism even further and pretreatments that bring tissues into a state that improves their subsequent storage life (Figure 11.18). Specific temperature management techniques are discussed below. Other examples of extended storage include drying in crops such as onions and wheat, ‘curing’ kumara (sweet potato) prior to storage and ‘pulsing’ cut flowers with sucrose to build up carbohydrates and thus prolong shelf life.