The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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The Non-destructive Assessment of Fruit Attributes

Sponsored by the ISHS Section Pome & Stone Fruits and the Commission Quality & Postharvest Horticulture

This Symposium will be held on 18 - 20 August 2014 as one of the symposia of the 29th International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane, Australia (17-22 August, 2014) (

The non-destructive assessment of fruit and vegetable attributes has been addressed in recent workshops, e.g. at previous IHC meetings in Korea and Portugal, in the programmes of CIGR section VI Postharvest symposia, the Postharvest Unlimited conference series, and within the ‘agriculture’ section of the International Conferences of Near Infra-red Spectroscopy. Expanded technological capacity, the development of horticulturally focussed commercial sensor solutions, consumer demand for particular grades of horticultural produce and research interest has led to the development of the IHC2014 Symposium, in parallel to symposia on “Mechanization, Precision Horticulture and Robotics”, “Postharvest Knowledge for the Future” and “New Technologies in Protected Cultivation”.

In the time since the introduction of diverging belts to grade fruit on size, there has been an escalating increase in the number and extent of technologies applied to the assessment of fruit quality, and a reduction in the labor involved. Further, in recent years these technologies have seen use in the orchard, as well as in the pack house, and the use of this information in decision support systems has become evident. A non-exclusive list of relevant sensor technologies includes: load cells, image analysis - machine vision, visible and near infrared spectroscopy (point analysis, hyper-spectral imaging), accelerometers, acoustic analysis, X-ray imaging, magnetic resonance, chlorophyll fluorescence, wireless sensor networks, and RFID technology. For example, the use of near infrared spectroscopy in the non-invasive assessment of fruit attributes (e.g. dry matter concentration, soluble solids concentration) is the subject of an escalating number of scientific manuscripts, although the technology is already in commercial use.

The symposium will include oral and poster presentations, presentations by equipment providers and opportunity for discussion of issues and directions in the Symposium. It is intended that an opportunity to visit field sites employing relevant technology will be incorporated in the general Congress tours within south-east Queensland.

This Symposium will review the state of the art in terms of the available technologies and their application, and will attempt to forecast future developments through the following themes, with presentations invited in all areas:

  1. 'Sensor technologies' – this theme addresses the development of non destructive assessment technologies and of specific methods relevant to the assessment of fruit attributes (e.g. fruit maturity or firmness). An overview will be presented of relevant technologies.
  2. 'Application development' – this theme addresses the development of uses of non-invasive assessment technologies in context of fruit quality. Apparent bottlenecks and benefits will be addressed.
  3. 'Decision Support Systems' – this theme addresses the development of information systems that utilize data from non-destructive assessments to inform pre- or post-harvest management decisions.


Prof Guglielmo Costa is Professor of Fruit Science, Department of Agricultural Science, University of Bologna, and has been researching on the topic of non-destructive devices for fruit quality assessment and plant bioregulators in fruit production and kiwifruit since 1970. He is the Chair of the Pome and Stone Fruit Section of ISHS, and has served as convener of several past Symposium and Working groups on these topics. He has also been involved in several projects under the umbrella of the EU Research Framework (Erwinia, ISAFRUIT, Q-detect) as Research Country or Working packages coordinator.

Professor Kerry Walsh is based at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia. He leads an active program in horticultural applications of near infrared spectroscopy, supported by Horticulture Australia Limited. He is currently involved in the Digital Rural futures Conference ( and ICNIRS2013 (

Keynote Speakers

Professor Bart Nicolaï is head of the division Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) of the Biosystems department at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and also leads the postharvest research group of this division. His main research interests are postharvest biology and technology, refrigeration technology, heat and mass transfer, quality of fruit and vegetables, and mathematical modelling. He is past-chairman of the Special Interest Group on Postharvest Processing of the European Association of Agricultural Engineers (EurAgEng), and past president of Commission C2 (Food Science and Engineering) of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR-IIF). He has been member of the organising and/or scientific committees of many international workshops and symposia. He is on the editorial board of the journals Postharvest Biology and Technology, Journal of Food Engineering, and Postharvest Innovation and Technology.

Dr Carlos Crisosto is a pomologist at the University of California, Davis, USA. His research and extension program covers the postharvest biology and technology of fruits, especially peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, table grapes, figs, kiwifruits, olives, pomegranates, and persimmons, as well as pistachios, almonds and walnuts. The goal of his research program is to develop a better understanding of the orchard factors and postharvest factors that control fruit flavour and shelf life and to develop technology to overcome fruit industry problems. He is applying genomic techniques to identify gene(s) responsible for fruit sensory attributes (both desirable and undesirable), and investigating physiological disorders such as chilling injury. He is also using sensory techniques, such as trained panels and “in store” consumer tests, to describe fruit flavour characteristics and losses during postharvest handling.

Dr Manuela Zude is a professor at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany. Her areas of research include the physical properties of fruit, precision fruticulture and the in-situ assessment of fruit by means of spectral-optical (multi- and hyper-spectral methods, time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy, back scattering imaging) and electro-chemical analyses.

Scientific Committee

  • Prof Guglielmo Costa (Italy)
  • Prof Kerry Walsh (Australia)
  • Prof Bart Nicolaï (Belgium)
  • Dr Carlos Crisosto (USA)
  • Dr Manuela Zude (Germany)
  • Dr Andrew McGlone (New Zealand)
  • Dr Sirinnapa (Mui) Saranwong (Japan)