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Loss and wastage in the food supply chain caused by microbes.
T. V. SUSLOW (1), E. J. Mitcham (1). (1) University of California, Davis, CA, U.S.A.

Renewed energy directed towards understanding global systems for food production, handling, distribution in relation to human health has sparked multiple initiatives for solutions to food insecurities. Projections for world population to reach nine billion by 2050 underscore the urgent need for system-wide reforms in supply-chain management and integration. Suggested solutions mostly involve pre-farm gate improvements in land utilization and yield. Seemingly on the sidelines, immediate and long-term gains in food security and food distribution equity are attainable by reducing postharvest losses. It has been estimated that postharvest losses of perishable horticultural foods routinely averages 12 % from farm-gate to distribution and 20% at point of preparation and consumption in developed countries. In many developing and economically-disadvantaged countries, post farm-gate losses exceed 40 %. Postharvest losses of more stable agronomic crops, such as grains, have annual losses of 17%. Without question, plant pathogens play an important role in preharvest crop losses and some carry-forward to manifestations of postharvest defect or decay. Some pathogens are not active until post-maturity ripening. This presentation will emphasize spoilage and decay and opportunities for substantial gains in food security within a framework of principles of postharvest biology and technology, emerging innovations for developing countries, and novel approaches to extending knowledge.

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