December 26 – January 18, 2020

Enroll Here

Instructor: Dr. Susan Han, Associate Professor


Prerequisites: None

potato-post-harvest-handling1Course Description: This course will include an introduction to the environmental and biological factors that contribute to postharvest loss of fruits and vegetables, commercial procedures of harvesting, handling, and storage of horticultural commodities, and specific handling information for commodities of various plant organs. Small-scale handling practices will be emphasized.

Required texts: None

Grading scheme-Grade will be based on:

  • First exam (15%)
  • Second exam (15%)
  • Third exam (15%)
  • Fourth exam (15%)
  • Active learning activities (40%)

Grading details:

  • Exams. Exams will be a combination of different types of questions, including some problem-solving questions concerning real-world postharvest problems.
  • fruitharvest1Active learning assignments. Active learning assignments will be created to provide students with hands-on experience for some of the concepts discussed in the course. An example of an active learning assignment includes a description of an experimental design so students can set up an experiment at home that is related to the concepts learned in lectures. Other active learning assignments might involve a real-world postharvest problem and students will be asked toresolve the issue. Reports will be submitted through the course management website. The due date of each assignment will be announced on the course management system.

Course Outline

Topic Topic
Environmental and biological factors
1 An overview of postharvest losses
2 Role of respiration in postharvest losses
3 Role of ethylene in senescence, postharvest losses and in fruit ripening
4 Role of temperature in respiration, senescence, fruit ripening, and postharvest


5 Role of humidity in postharvest water loss
Commercial Practices and Procedures
6 Quality standards
7 Harvesting and handling systems
8 Precooling
9 Cold storage
Commercial handling of various plant organs
10 Handling pomes
11 Handling grapes and berries
12 Handling stone fruits
13 Handling leafy vegetables
14 Handling root crops
15 Handling flower and stem vegetables
16 Handling fruit and seed vegetables
17 Handling of subtropical and tropical fruits

This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program and will count toward the Associate of Science degree as well as the Online B.S. degree.  Online classes cost $482/credit.

To begin planning for the future, see….

Annual Class Schedule

NOTE: The UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate has been declared eligible for Veterans Educational Benefits. For instructions see: Veterans Benefits.

If you are not interested in earning college credit, there are many non-credited workshops and short courses you can take outside of the university.  For a list see: non-university workshops and courses.


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