HORT40130 Fruit & Postharvest Physiology

Academic Year 2023/2024

Fruit crop production depends on science and technology. Temperate fruit crops include trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and berries. The correct selection and management of these plants is critical to their yield, quality and nutritional value. Once harvested, fresh produce enters the cold chain to remove field heat and remains under controlled conditions until purchased for consumption. These conditions invariably include refrigeration; in addition, some fruits can be stored for long periods in modified atmosphere conditions and packaged in modified atmosphere packaging to prolong shelf-life and maintain quality and freshness. This module covers the above topics through lectures, laboratory sessions, practicals and industry visits.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to;
1. Practical management skills for fruit crop production;
2. Physiological background to growing and storing commercial fruit crops;
3. Control of rootstock and shoot growth, flower initiation and fruiting;
4. Measurement of quality parameters in fruits;
5. Techniques that facilitate manipulation of plant physiology;
6. Mechanisation and precision horticulture practices in fruit crop production;
7. Manipulation and control of storage atmospheres and fruits stored therein;
8. Novel horticultural business opportunities.

Indicative Module Content:

This module explores the scientific and technological basis of temperate fruit crop production. Lecture material discusses tree, shrub and berry fruits; orchard management; pruning; grafting; mineral nutrition; plant reproduction; cultivar and rootstock selection; crop maturity; and pest and disease management. Postharvest physiology covers handling and transportation of fresh produce; refrigerated and controlled atmosphere storage; ethylene inhibition; and physiological storage disorders. Tropical fruit crops are introduced. Practical and laboratory sessions include apple cultivar identification; grafting; dormant pruning; starch, sugar and acid content of fruit; fruit juice extraction; and pest monitoring, trapping and identification. Students will be required to produce individual practical and laboratory reports. Students will be taken on two industry site visits and will be required to produce individual reports detailing their observations and provide a critique of the business. Students will be randomly assigned to groups for scenario-based learning projects on developing a new horticultural enterprise based around fruit or fruit waste, from concept to end of first year of business, covering product development, marketing and finance. Each group will be required to prepare a poster of their project that they will jointly present and defend under questioning from fellow students and academic staff in a mini conference setting. An individual personal reflective learning journal documenting their learning during the group project will be required. The module will culminate in a final examination.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Field Trip/External Visits


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Module will be delivered through UCD VLE system and will consist of:
• Lectures
• Practical sessions
• Industry visits
• Group project
• Personal reflective journal 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Fieldwork: Practicals, Lab, fieldwork. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: One hour end of trimester examination. 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Journal: Reflective learning journal Week 11 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Project: Group project Week 11 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 1 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Syed Bilal Hussain Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Aisling Reilly Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 14:00 - 15:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 10:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 10:00 - 10:50
Field Trip Offering 1 Week(s) - 10, 11 Wed 13:00 - 15:50