Stress responses on quality parameters of vegetable crops

Vegetable crops can be exposed to stress in the field by insect pests, pathogens, drought, high or low temperature, UV-light, mechanical stress from hail as well as by post-harvest handling or changes in atmosphere in storage rooms or packaging. Form another perspective ‘controlled stress exposure’ of plants by elicitor treatments can be used to improve the content or composition of chemical components. This is relevant for increasing content of biochemical with purposes related to human health or plants resistance to pests and environmental stress.

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Head cabbage outer leaves waste fraction exposed to UV-B radiation to increase content of biochemicals. Photo: Randi Seljåsen / NIBIO
Washing , sorting and pacakaging line for carrots. Photo: Randi Seljaasen / NIBIO
Our studies have been focused on how field stress and post-harvest stress can affect the content of chemical compounds and sensory quality. Carrots are used as model crop for our tests. Results from our research showed that stress exposure trigger production of non-favored compounds that decrease sensory quality for this crop.

We also perform elicitor studies on brassica with the aim to investigate possible methods for changing the content and profile of phenolic compounds and glucosinolates. We focus on UV-B light and ultrasound treatment with respect to content of biochemical in brassica.  The aim is to find possible ways to pre-treat co-streams of brassica (removed outer leaves) to be used in industrial products for food or other purposes.