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Post-harvest proteomics and food security


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To guarantee sufficient food supply for a growing world population, efforts towards improving crop yield and plant resistance should be complemented with efforts to reduce post-harvest losses. Post-harvest losses are substantial and occur at different stages of the food chain in developed and developing countries. In recent years, a substantially increasing interest can be seen in the application of proteomics to understand post-harvest events. In the near future post-harvest proteomics will be poised to move from fundamental research to aiding the reduction of food losses. Proteomics research can help in reducing food losses through (i) identification and validation of gene products associated to specific quality traits supporting marker-assisted crop improvement programmes, (ii) delivering markers of initial quality that allow optimisation of distribution conditions and prediction of remaining shelf-life for decision support systems and (iii) delivering early detection tools of physiological or pathogen-related post-harvest problems. In this manuscript, recent proteomics studies on post-harvest and stress physiology are reviewed and discussed. Perspectives on future directions of post-harvest proteomics studies aiming to reduce food losses are presented.