I was delighted to find out that I was accepted to give a poster presentation at the 6th International Postharvest Symposium, 8-12 April, Antalya, Turkey, with the title 'Seasonal effects on postharvest quality of imported Spanish avocado cv. Hass'. As a PhD student just approaching the end of my first year, this was my first chance to participate in an international conference and was a great opportunity.
The symposium was structured in three parallel sessions throughout the day. Posters were exhibited all day with a one hour session dedicated to them. The topics covered a wide range of issues such as preharvest effect on postharvest behaviour, genomic and proteomic, physiological disorders, health promoting substances, and postharvest management. My poster was related to the influence of preharvest factors on postharvest behaviour and is part of the work I undertake in the Plant Science Laboratory at Cranfield University under the supervision of Dr Leon Terry.
Avocado fruit cv. Hass is one of the main cultivars present on European market, selected for the good quality and the characteristic to change in skin colour with ripening that is used as an indicator for consumers. Avocado is considered to be a healthy food as the main compounds are represented by unsaturated fatty acids. Avocado fruit is usually harvested in three main commercial seasons identified as early, middle and late. A characteristic of avocado fruit cv. Hass is that usually does not ripen on the tree but after harvest it is high perishable. A better knowledge on this postharvest behaviour is important in the management of avocado trade. Previous investigations found different postharvest behaviour in relation to harvest time, where late season fruit ripen faster compared with early season fruit.
In this work I investigated the influences of harvest time of avocado fruit cv. Hass from Spain on postharvest behaviour and lipid composition. The results showed variation in ripening time and lipid composition in relation to harvest season, which demonstrated the importance of preharvest factors for postharvest management. In this symposium many presentations focussed on the importance of cultural factors in the determination of fruit quality, which provided me with points of reflection for further investigations.
The symposium was a good opportunity to become personally acquainted with the principal scientists working in my area, and to raise the prospect for future interaction with them. This represents an important possibility for worldwide connections in the scientific community.
This conference achieved the aim of being an international meeting for the scientific community but was also a bridge to connect scientists and international companies involved in fruit and vegetable trade. The research presented during the sessions was the results of recent investigations in the postharvest field, which stimulated interesting discussion and reflection.
In conclusion, attending this event was a really useful experience for me and I would like to express my thanks to SCI for providing me with the funding which enabled me to attend.