FZMR19-Fresh Produce Postharvest Quality Management

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Carol Wagstaff

Email: C.Wagstaff@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Delivered as an intensive campus based workshop of 5 consecutive days of seminars, tutorials and practical sessions delivered by academic members of teaching and research staff from the department of Food & Nutritional Sciences and the wider University of Reading and invited experts in the field from across academia and industry.

This module addresses the importance of supply chain aspects through an understanding of the biology behind processes and controls in place to maintain postharvest quality and an appreciation of the future direction of postharvest technologies.


This module delivers knowledge on the biology behind decisions in the postharvest chain for fresh produce.  Students will develop a greater ability to critique their supply chain processes and adapt to changes and challenges which they may face in the future.  Students will be able to adapt their supply chain to new products and innovations and solve problems when the supply chain breaks down.  The module explains the biology underlying common constraints such temperature, atmosphere and contamination risks. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, learners will have:

  • An appreciation of where the quality of fresh produce is at risk in a supply chain

  • An understanding of the influence of agronomy on postharvest quality

  • A knowledge of the biological basis of factors determining fresh produce quality and how to manipulate them in different crop species

  • The ability to identify and control biotic and abiotic quality problems in fresh produce crops

  • An understanding of the sources of microbiological, pest and disease contamination on fresh produce and how they can be contained

  • The ability to select appropriate technologies for extending shelf life and reducing biological degradation of the crop

Additional outcomes:

The following transferable skills will be developed in this module:

  • Critical evaluation of data from a variety of sources

  • Effective communication of scientific information in oral and written format with scientific rigour

  • Debating skills

Outline content:

The workshop is divided into five days, focussed on individual supply chain management, physiology, safety, storage and packaging and future technologies. Students will hear from experts in each field and topics will cover plant respiration and metabolism, supply chain management, physiology of ripening, food safety and sanitsation, storage conditions, the role of ethylene, crop genetics and future technologies. Talks are accompanied by debates and interactive activities in the classroom and pilot plant.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will be delivered via a 5-day intensive on campus workshop that will include 35 hours of academic-led seminar, practical session and group discussions supported by expert outside speakers and 85 hours of guided independent study. The final assignment, which seeks to apply the learning to the student’s business situation, accounts for 80 hours of work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Seminars 15
Practicals classes and workshops 5
Guided independent study 165
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

A single written report in three sections



Describe in detail the supply chain for a crop relevant to your business. Using the information learned in the course, supported by additional reading of the scientific literature, critique this supply chain and evaluate where its strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of quality management


Using the information learned in the course, supported by additional reading of the scientific literature, critique this supply chain and evaluate where its strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of quality management


Include a section on the changes and developments that you recommend in order to improve the resilience of the supply chain and the quality of the produce moving through it


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall in all assessed work.

Reassessment arrangements:

In the event of a student failing the module they will be reassessed based on resubmission of failed coursework assignments or equivalent pieces of work.  Module marks are capped at 50% for passes at 2nd attempt.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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