The interfaces between agricultural raw material and processing, a key point for bridging variability of raw materials and versatility of processing for innovative food systems.


Dealing with the diversity and heterogeneity of agricultural raw materials and optimising their processing for more sustainable food systems; the specific objective is to create the conditions for an integrated approach, shared between the research community and stakeholders, to better take into account diversity in a pre-harvest and post-harvest continuum in order to achieve optimised processing for a shared benefit The aim of the project is to create a research continuum between the development of the agricultural raw material and its processing in order to define the margins of technological and economic flexibility that exist with regard to the variability of the raw material. Two main questions are posed:

  • What are the responses of fruits to processing operations?
  • How can these processing operations be characterised in order to use them for specific fruits or to refine unit operations?

The interfaces between fruit production and processing are considered key points for the sustainability of the food chain. In order to limit losses and waste it seems essential to have indicators and tools to better take into account and valorise the variability and heterogeneity that are created in the field and during the ripening and storage of fruit.


The combinations of fruits and processed products were chosen as examples of typical behaviour, related to ecophysiological conditions: apples in compote (with the issue of structural dry matter content and cell size as determinants of texture), mangoes in dried mango (with the issue of content and nature of sugars present), and grapes in wine (with the issue of the impact of ripening on the extraction of polyphenols)

The Interfaces project is structured in 6 work packages:

  • WP1: Indicators and methods to characterise the variability, heterogeneity and processability of fruits according to growth and ripening conditions, with a focus on dry matter and structural dry matter as well as some micronutrients
  • WP2: Consideration of variability and heterogeneity in processing
  • WP3 : Dynamics of microbial communities from tree to plate, impact of production systems on these microbiota and their flow during processing, in order to identify possible key steps to be controlled
  • WP4: Connecting pre and post-harvest models
  • WP5: Taking into account variability in the fruit value chain
  • WP6: Governance

There are seven ongoing theses and two post-docs.


The approaches emphasise developments in instrumentation (adaptation, method creation, database consolidation, quality model from fruit data). At the stage of each fruit, there is significant potential for progress through the programme. Some results are original or confirm mechanistic hypotheses, they clearly show the significant role of storage/maturation (more on apple than on mango).

Significant efforts have been made to train the young researchers associated with the project.

This project has enabled connections between the teams involved and other research teams.

The mechanistic hypotheses concerning the determinants of the impacts of processing appear to be reliable for apples (ability to detach cells during crushing).

  • Call for project
  • Start date :
    1 January 2017
  • Closing date :
    31 December 2020
  • Flagship project :
  • Responsable
    Véronique Broussolle (UMR SQPOV, Inra) et Dominique Pallet (UMR Qualisud, Cirad)
  • Research units in the network
Scientific partners:

SPO, MOISA, PSH, Hortsys