The supply chain for the Australian stone fruit industry is characterised by a series of operational problems that affect the entire sector. Too often there is little information exchange when fruit passes between the links in the value chain from grower to consumer. In addition, the high number of cultivars used makes it difficult to develop broadly applicable protocols to manage fruit quality, which contributes to variable eating quality and consumer dissatisfaction. Agriculture Victorian (DEDJTR), with the support of the Australian stone fruit industry, is developing a more integrated approach that allows better flow of information in the value chain. The project will use non-destructive sensor technologies, in particular the Index of Absorbance Difference (IAD). This relatively new technology accurately determines the physiological maturity of fruit enabling the effect of each step in the value chain on fruit maturity to be measured. Fruit assessment will start in the Agriculture Victoria stone fruit research orchard and continue through the harvest, handling, packaging, storage shipping and retail steps in the chain.

A thorough understanding of consumer preferences for fruit quality is being developed through sensory research and will be communicated back along the chain to help deliver consistently high quality fruit that meet consumer expectations. This study aims to show how an entire value chain systems approach to fruit quality management, using new and emerging sensor technologies such as the IAD, can lead to new and improved outcomes and enhance the profitability and viability of the Australian stone fruit industry.

International Society for Horticultural Science: http://www.actahort.org/books/1120/1120_80.htm

D. Stefanelli 1, J. Lopresti 1, G. Hale 1, R. Jones 1, B. Tomkins 1, M. O’Connell 2 and S. Flett 2

1 Agriculture Victoria, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia; 2 Agriculture Victoria, Tatura, Victoria, Australia.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)

Further reading - Determination of stonefruit maturity, quality and volatile composition