Post-harvest physiology and technology seminar 2019

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 | 8:30am-5pm | PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport

Successful management of apples and pears in the specialised area of post-harvest is increasingly driven by technology.

Presenters at the 2019 post-harvest seminar will share information and examples of how the progressive operators, both locally and internationally, are implementing effective practices backed by an understanding of science and skills.

Topics include: post-harvest physiology, storage technology, management, insights and analysis of the future retailer landscape in the apple and pear industry.

Individuals with an interest in apple and pear cool store management, orchard owners and managers, advisers and marketers looking to update their post-harvest knowledge are encouraged to attend.

View the Post-harvest Seminar 2019 event page.

Book now


The 2019 Post-harvest presenters include:

Dr David Felicetti – Post-harvest fogging
Tito Spaldi – Dynamic control atmosphere global trends
Ian Reichstein –  Microbial, heavy metal and chemical screening for apple and pears
Tristan Kitchener –  Changing retail landscape
Stephen Tancred – Post-harvest fungicide usage patterns for rot control
Dr Hannah James –  Freshcloud: using data and analytics to get the most out of your fruit quality
Dr Jason Johnston –  Science Group Leader, post-harvest
Prof. Chris Watkins – Fruit ripening, maturation and control strategies, and fruit storage technology
Henry Fisk – Review of quality and customer interaction



Dr David Felicetti, Pace International, LLC, USAdavid felicetti post-harvest 2019

Post-harvest fogging

Dr David Felicetti is a senior manager at Pace International, LLC, a leading global post-harvest company pioneering the use of fogging of diphenylamine (DPA) and fungicides in apple and pear storage. Pace fog over 3 million bins of apples and pears annually in the USA, Canada and Chile, with development currently underway in South Africa and Australia.

David has extensive experience in using this new technology and is knowledgeable about fungicide and DPA use in apples and pears.


Your position at Pace International:

Senior Manager of R&D and Regulatory Affairs. I have been in this position for one and a half years.

What do you do there?

In my current position I oversee a variety of activities and departments. The main goal of the various departments is to better understand post-harvest issues and needs of the industry, provide solutions to help extend shelf life, and to reduce losses caused by post-harvest disorders and decays.

Other jobs/roles you’ve had:

I have been with Pace for nine years. My original role was Manager of the Post-harvest Physiology Department, responsible for running trials with existing products as well as developing new products.

How did you become involved with Pace International?

My M.S. and Ph.D. research focused on pre-harvest stress physiology (mainly sunburn of apples). During my studies I was also exposed to and learned a considerable amount about post-harvest physiology. After obtaining my Ph.D. I worked with Dr. James Mattheis at the USDA in Wenatchee, WA researching post-harvest disorders of pome fruit. While Pace International is currently mainly a post-harvest company, it has a strong history in pre-harvest as well and continues to manufacture pre-harvest products for sunburn protection and cherry cracking suppression.  My understanding and knowledge of both pre-harvest and post-harvest physiology was a strong fit for a company that deals in both areas.

Can you please explain what fogging is and is it currently used in Australia?

There are different types of fogging. There is cold fogging and thermo-fogging (hot-fogging). The type of fogging we are talking about here is thermo-fogging or hot fogging. Pace International has branded it as ecoFOG®. Pace International’s ecoFOG®  is an electric thermofogging technology that uses electricity to generate heat and air flow to atomize a non-aqueous based product and create a literal fog. Unlike traditional aqueous or water based drench applications, ecoFOG® applications are applied after the fruit has been placed into storage rooms and do not use water. Pace International’s ecoFOG is not currently registered in Australia. However, trials have been conducted and continue to be conducted under a research permit.

Where do you live?

I live in Washington State in the USA.

Favourite apple or pear:

I don’t have a favorite. There are too many great varieties to pick only one. Depending on the season, availability, cost, use, and my mood, my preference at any given time can change.

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tito spaldi profile

Tito Spaldi, Isolcell Export Manager

Dynamic control atmosphere global trends

Tito Spaldi is directly responsible for Isolcell’s controlled atmosphere technology in over 20 countries for commercial and post-harvest purposes.

After growing up on a small orchard and living in the UK, France, and Germany, it was clear to Tito Spaldi that he had to do something involving “top fruit” with an international aspect. Tito began introducing dynamic controlled atmosphere – chlorophyll fluorescence (DCA-CF) into Australia in 2014. The DCA-CF system is a major advancement in storage technology for apples and pears and has recently seen rapid growth, particularly in Victoria.

Tito will explain the system and its requirements, highlight the growth of its use in Australia and give examples of the fruits being stored. He will also touch on the success and challenges encountered over the years with real client feedback with a vision for the future.


What’s one interesting thing about your role?

Travelling to so many different places, I never stop learning from other people and cultures.

Has there been any resistance to the introduction and use of DCA (Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere) in Australia?

As always in agriculture, there is some resistance to change or new practices, especially when it involves financial investment. By the same token, once the results are proven then everyone is happy to follow.

In Australia we had our first DCA room in 2014 and in 2019 there will be 137 rooms with our DCA technology and an additional 77 rooms which have the Controlled Atmosphere equipment allowing them to be used in DCA by only adding the fluorescence sensors.

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I’m not living in airport lounges, I try to spend as much time with my family as possible enjoying the beauty of Merano in the province of South Tyrol, Italy. I enjoy hiking and skiing as well as looking after the small orchard and cooking with my two young daughters.

Favourite apple or pear:

Morgenduft, a new apple from South Tyrol.

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Ian Reichstein, National Residue Survey Director post harvest profiles ian reichstein

For over three decades, Ian Reichstein has dedicated his career to protecting and improving Australian agricultural practices.

Growing up on a horticultural property in South Australia, Ian set off for Canberra to study science, biochemistry, and microbiology at the Australian National University and today manages the National Residue Survey, which has been the key barometer of sound agricultural practice in Australia for over 20 years.

“Ensuring post-harvest practices are up to scratch is paramount for pome fruit growers looking to access new, overseas markets”

Before Ian unpacks the results of the 2017-18 NRS at Post-Harvest Seminar, APAL got to know him a little better:

Your position at NRS:

I’ve been with the National Residue Survey for nearly 17 years, serving as Director since 2007.  Canberra has been my ‘work home’ for 32 years with roles across the Australian and ACT public sector, plus another five years spent in research laboratories.

What’s one interesting thing about your role?

I’ve been lucky enough to take part in a number of Australian delegations, including as leader to the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues which recommends Codex MRLs to  the international food standards body (Codex Alimentarius Commission). This, and other international representation roles, has given me access to work with some of the brightest scientific minds from around the world.  It’s always great to compare and contrast how different countries are tackling chemicals and incorporate these learnings into industry approaches here.

What’s your message to growers following the latest NRS results?

Australia has developed a strong reputation for clean, green fresh produce which gives our growers a distinct export advantage.

Ensuring that our fresh produce continues to live up to this lofty reputation means we need robust compliance frameworks and processes.  Growers and pack house managers must rapidly identify and flag any chemical use issues which jeopardise export and domestic trade, and that’s where the NRS plays an essential role in verifying compliance with Australian and overseas MRLs.

With the expansion of the NRS scope to include heavy metals and micro-organisms, I think growers should feel pleased with the continued high degree of sound agricultural practice but also remain vigilant about responding quickly to any warning signs as they arise.

Favourite apple or pear:

A crunchy Jazz apple!

Ian Reichstein will speak at the Post-Harvest Seminar on 16 January 2019 on the NRS pome fruit residue monitoring program covering program structure, industry involvement, an examination of residue testing results, international MRL issues and future directions.

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tristan kitchener profile

Tristan Kitchener, Kitchener Partners

Changing retail landscape

Tristan is an independent consultant and works with a range of clients across the grocery value chain, from retailers through to manufacturers and growers.

Tristan offers valuable insights on the implication of the changing retail and consumer environment and identifying solutions to key business challenges. He previously worked as a Group Merchandise Manager for Fresh Produce at Coles and as a Product Technologist for Fresh Produce at Sainsburys. He lives in Albert Park in Melbourne.


What’s one interesting thing about your role?

Essentially my role is around helping clients solve problems, and this often hinges on finding a common interest to align on. One of the more challenging projects I’ve tackled is aligning the QA requirements of the major grocery retailers, which has involved over 20 workshops over a 6 year period. While virtually everyone said it couldn’t be done, it essentially came down to building trust and respect within the retailer group and focusing on the end goal, which is all the retailers heading in the same direction regarding food safety, trade, and legislative requirements.

It may not be perfect but I think we’re in a better place now than a fragmented approach with retailers heading in different directions like they are in the UK. After the success of HARPS here, the next step is to harmonise the environmental and ethical requirements of the major retailers.

With the current focus of the ‘war on waste’, where are we heading in the fresh produce industry?

At a high level there’ll be more focus to ensure packaging is serving a purpose (adding value), and a greater need to help drive a behavioural change with consumers to actually place a value on the environment and ‘do the right thing’. The consumer push-back when Coles and Woolworths removed single use bags demonstrates how difficult changing long established behaviours can be, and consumers need more support and incentives to change.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Tristan enjoys playing tough rugby for VIC Men’s 40’s, kite surfing, and spending time with his kids Daisy, 9, and Isla, 7.

Favourite apple or pear:

‘Egremont Russet’, a high acid, high flavour traditional English apple. I’m not actually sure it’s even grown in Australia, but I’d lock in an order now if anyone is willing!

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Stephen Tancredstephen tancred mini profile

Post-harvest fungicide usage patterns for rot control

Stephen Tancred is a Senior Horticultural Consultant with Orchard Services and has almost ten years’ experience working with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries where he provided research and advisory services to fruit and vegetable growers. He has consulted privately in horticulture for nearly two decades.


How did you become involved with Orchard Services? Did you start the business? 

Yes, I started the business to meet the technical needs of local fruit and vegetable growers.

What’s one interesting thing about your role?

I get to continually learn. I specialise in apples, but I’m also involved with many other horticultural crops.  I also enjoy the opportunity to travel to many other places in Australia and overseas.

What is, in your opinion, the best resource for growers to use when reviewing sanitiser and fungicide use?

APAL’s Future Orchards library is a great resource, as is the Fruitgrower magazine. The Australian industry has good technical expertise in the commercial packing, cold store, and reselling segments of the industry.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Travel, Rotary, fine dining, watching rugby and visiting the kids keep me busy.

Favourite apple or pear?

Kalei, of course.

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hannah james post-harvest

Dr Hannah James

Freshcloud – using data and analytics to get the most out of your fruit quality

Dr Hannah James completed her PhD at Sydney University studying post-harvest physiology of apples, particularly the flesh browning disorder of Pink Lady® branded apples. On completion of her PhD she moved to the USA to complete a postdoc at Cornell University in New York.

In 2010 Hannah joined AgroFresh and has since worked in research and development with a focus on post-harvest management of apples and pears. Hannah Returned to Australia in 2015 to take on the role of research and development manager for Australia and New Zealand with AgroFresh.


What is your position at AgroFresh?

I am the Research & Development Manager for Australia & New Zealand.

What’s one interesting thing about your role?

I get to work on a lot more crops than just apples and pears, and I get to travel around different horticultural production regions of the world to share knowledge and bring information back to Australia and New Zealand.

Where are the points in the supply chain where quality is most at risk?

In my experience, quality is at risk at all points along the supply chain, and different solutions are required to both monitor and manage the quality at different levels. However, I think that retail and consumer parts of the supply chain are the areas in which knowledge and innovation are ready to make revolutionary change to combat food waste.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I have two young children, so most of my time is taken up with them. However, I also enjoy photography and recently took up running.

Favourite apple or pear?

Pink Lady.

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jason johnston web profile

Dr Jason Johnston

Application of dry matter testing in apples

Dr Jason Johnston is the Science Group Leader for Postharvest at Plant & Food Research, based in Hawke’s Bay. Through his work, Dr Johnston has identified key risk factors associated with the development of quality defects in stored fruit and has used this knowledge to optimise storage conditions for the apple industry. Dr Johnston’s research interests and activities include: development of new tools that predict storage life and determine optimum harvest timing, development of technologies that extend storage and shelf-life, and improving understanding about the metabolism of fresh produce.

He will speak about the benefits of Dry Matter testing in apples, including how to avoid giving consumers watery, bland apples.


Your position at Plant & Food Research:  Science Group Leader, Postharvest

Other jobs/roles you’ve had: Postdoctoral scientist at University of Abertay, Scotland

How did you become involved with Plant & Food Research? Lucky enough to be recruited in 2006 (was HortResearch at that time) into a junior scientist role.

What’s one interesting thing about your role?  The varied challenges and rewards that come when working with plants and people.

What are the benefits of dry matter testing? Avoiding giving consumers watery-bland apples.

How is it used for quality assurance? Inventory management

Where do you live? Hawke’s Bay, NZ

What do you do when you’re not working? Craft home brewer, otherwise enjoying the outdoors with family.

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chris watkins profile 150x150

Prof. Chris Watkins, Professor of Horticulture at Cornell University

Fruit ripening, maturation and control strategies, and fruit storage technology

Professor Chris Watkins will return as the keynote speaker after also presenting at the Post-harvest Seminar in 2013. Chris runs a post-harvest science and research program at Cornell University with a major focus on apple storage. His post-harvest research and extension portfolio is extensive and main areas of expertise include: 1-MCP application; mechanisms for the development of physiological storage disorders; harvest maturity; post-harvest handling; and storage technology.

Chris has worked as a professor at Cornell University since 1994 and also oversees the Cornell Cooperative Extension system, which has a presence in every County and Borough of New York State, with approximately 1,500 employees.


What’s one interesting thing about your role?

The challenges of new varieties, as each one is like a new type of fruit rather than just another apple. This creates a great opportunity to work interactively with the industry. In addition, new technology opportunities with the commercialisation of 1-MCP and dynamic controlled atmosphere (DCA) technology are exciting, as well as new handheld tools to assess fruit colour and dry matter contents as guides for fruit maturity and quality.

Internationally, what represents good fruit quality to you?

Whatever the market expectation is — but generally, fruit that possesses qualities the consumer desires in particular, colour, crisp texture and flavour typical of the variety.

Other jobs/roles you’ve had:

Research Scientist in New Zealand, in what is now known as Plant & Food Research (formally DSIR) from 1978 through 1994.

Favourite apple or pear:

A tie between Honeycrisp and SnapDragon.

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Henry Fisk, Quality Specialist at Woolworths

Review of quality and customer interaction

Henry Fisk is Woolworth’s Agronomist for Citrus and Tropicals and manages quality and compliance. He is involved in all phases of operations, from initial development and planning, to the purchase of raw materials, planting, production, harvesting, packaging and export, all of which require exacting quality standards. With the increase in customer perception on packaging materials, he will speak about the industry’s need to investigate more sustainable solutions where practical and logical.

Henry was a farmer of Table Grapes and Mushrooms and previously co-owned Agri Business Fisk and Marx Agriculture Development. For the past 4 years he has worked with Costa Exchange Ltd, initially managing their Grape Division, and in 2013 moved internally to oversee their mushroom growing activities. He lives in the Adelaide Hills and enjoys walking, cycling, fishing, and kayaking.


How long have you worked for Woolworths?

Three and a half years

What’s one interesting thing about your role?

Forever learning with multiple crops in my category, continual change, and challenge

Favourite apple or pear:

Royal Gala

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By |November 13th, 2018|PIPS, Post-harvest quality|

About the Author:

APAL is an industry representative body and not-for-profit membership organisation that supports Australia’s commercial apple and pear growers.