Although an ancient crop, global interest in commercial pomegranate production and consumption is very recent. In South Africa, export has grown by >20% during the past year reaching about 4500 tons in 2015.
At SARChI Postharvest Technology, we develop innovative postharvest solutions to improve postharvest handling and processing of pomegranates for the emerging South African pomegranate industry by focussing on the following research themes:
- Predicting fruit readiness for harvest to reduce unnecessary fruit losses.
Modelling the transpiration and respiration rates to better understand the behaviour of whole and processed fruit under different storage conditions.
- Studying packaging and cold chain technologies to extend the shelf life of pomegranate arils and whole fruit to reduce quality loss during storage.
- Phytochemical analyses to explore the health benefits and economic potential of both the arils and peels of South African grown pomegranates.