The Produce Quality Centre (PQC) is a major new scientific collaboration between NIAB EMR and the University of Greenwich (UoG).
Ensuring food security and minimising waste throughout the supply chain will be a critical issue for fresh produce supply over the next decade. The PQC combines the technical expertise of both organisations to achieve these objectives with NIAB EMR focused on the pre-harvest factors affecting crops and the University’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) on post-harvest crops, and utilises the world-class research storage facilities at the East Malling site.
The focus of the PQC is on optimising both pre-harvest and post-harvest factors to improve the storage and quality of produce throughout the supply chain (i.e. from producer to plate), in order to increase consumer choice, improve energy and transport efficiency, improve quality and nutrition, reduce waste and extend availability.
“At a time when food security is gaining an ever higher position on the political agenda, it is a great step forward that these teams can join their considerable forces on common issues”, commented NIAB EMR Managing Director Prof Mario Caccamo. He continued, “By focussing the widest range of horticultural expertise and post-harvest research facilities assembled in the UK, we can improve quality and reduce losses for a wide range of temperate and tropical fruits, vegetables and cut flowers, develop best practice and troubleshoot problems in the supply chain.”
At the heart of the PQC is the Jim Mount Building, the UK’s leading controlled atmosphere (CA) research storage facility, but the collaboration also benefits from a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities across NIAB and the University of Greenwich.
On-going and recent projects at the PQC are funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Defra, the agricultural levy bodies and numerous commercial clients, including most of the major retailers.