Postharvest Biology and Technology houses the Plant Science Laboratory which is one of the largest centres dedicated to research, consultancy and education in postharvest biology and technology of fresh produce in Europe.

Since our establishment in 2002 we continue to grow our research in terms of revenue, national and international reputation and scientific excellence.

We service all sectors of the fresh produce supply chain including many of the major multinational food companies, multiple food retailers and undertake research for both national and international Governments, research councils, multinationals and various grower levy bodies.

Key research areas

  • Fundamental postharvest physiology and biochemistry of fresh produce
  • Targeted and non-targeted metabolomics
  • Technology development for reducing waste and extending storage, shelf- and home-life of fresh produce
  • Sensor and product development (including packaging).

Our People

Our facilities and resources

Our research contributes to the sustainable production of safe and nutritious fresh and processed foods that meet the demands of consumers. We are funded principally from applied, publicly-funded research initiatives and direct industrial research contracts. Our research outputs include technologies to improve food storage and safety. In addition, basic research, eg. funded by BBSRC, has led to research publications in high-ranking scientific journals.

The Plant Science Laboratory comprise a suite of controlled environment rooms and controlled atmosphere chambers. We have a research glasshouse (230m2 with full light, day length and temperature control). We also have excellent facilities for analytical biochemistry/metabolomics, molecular biology, mycology and general microbiology.

Our recent investment in state-of-the-art analytical biochemistry facilities has led to the creation of our Environmental Analytical Facility which provides tailor-made services to profile and quantify important analytes in plant and food samples using both targeted and non-targeted metabolomics. This is a rapidly expanding activity with a growing list of industrial and academic clients.

Professional development (CPD)

We offer employees working within the agrifood industry a variety of flexible training courses ranging from short workshops and short courses through to part-time postgraduate research degrees in food, fresh produce, soils, sustainability and water.

Cranfield is a member of one of four consortia to have received investment from the BBSRC to provide advanced training for the development of the UK agrifood industry. Eligible employees in the agrifood sector can apply to come to Cranfield fully-funded under the AgriFood Advanced Training Partnership (AATP). Please visit our short course pages for details of forthcoming AATP short courses at Cranfield.

In addition we can provide bespoke training packages to meet an organisations specific needs. Our training is planned and delivered by our own subject specialists and supported by external specialists and experts where necessary. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Supporting your business

The group has a flexible approach to meet the needs of its commercial clients and will develop research proposals in close consultation with industrial partners. We deliver confidential industrial research under contract and have an excellent track record to secure government funding for pre-competitive research to meet the future needs of industry (e.g. TSB, LINK, AHDB funding). We also provide a range of opportunities to fund applied research projects through postgraduate studentships and act as consultants in postharvest technology.

The following are a sample of those we have worked for and collaborated with:

A - D Agilent Technologies, Agrexco Ltd, Agricultural Research Institute (Cyprus), Allium and Brassica Centre, Amcor, Applied Enzyme Technologies, ASDA, Association of Applied Biologists, Barfoots of Botley Ltd, Bedfordshire Growers Ltd, Benaki Phytopathological Institute (Greece), BerryWorld Ltd, BIS, Branstons, British Council, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, DEEDI (Australia), Defra, DFID

E - H Eastern University (Sri Lanka), EPSRC, EU, Flamingo UK Ltd, Flower Plus, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FB Parrish and Son, Fresh Produce Consortium, FSA, G’s Marketing Ltd, Greens of Soham, GSK, Gwent Electronic Materials, , HDC, Heinz FCF, Higher Education Commission (Pakistan)

I - L IGD, Imperial College, Innovia Films, Instron, ISTOM (France), ItsFresh!, James Hutton Institute, Johnson Matthey plc, KG Fruits Ltd, Lambda Photometrics

M - P Mack Multiples Ltd, Marks and Spencer plc, Minor Weir and Willis, Moulton Bulb Co, Munoz Mehadrin UK, National Research Foundation (South Africa), Nigerian Government, Pepsico, PG Rix Farms Ltd, Potato Council Ltd , Pratt’s Bananas Ltd, Produce World

Q - T Queensland Government, Rohm and Haas, Rothamsted Research, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Thai Government, Rustlers Produce Ltd, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, Santander, SBCSR, SCI, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Suffolk Onion Growers, Suntory Flowers, Syngenta Seeds Ltd, Technology Strategy Board, TEI Crete (Greece), TEI Kalamata (Greece), Tesco Stores Ltd, The Nuffield Foundation, The Perry Foundation, The Royal Society, Thorlabs

U - Z Unilever R&D, Univeg, University of Algarve (Portugal), University of Bari (Italy), University of Huelva (Spain), University of Kitakyushu (Japan), University of Lancaster, University of Leeds, University of Nottingham, University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Queensland (Australia), University of Reading, University of Sheffield, University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), Waitrose Ltd, Warwick HRI, Winchester Growers Ltd, World Bank, Worldwide Fruit, WRAP, Zwetsloots Ltd.