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An Overview on Post-Harvest Technological Advances and Ripening Techniques for Increasing Peach Fruit Quality and Shelf Life

Umar Hayat
Wenqing Li
Hangling Bie
Suning Liu
Dandan Guo
1 and
Ke Cao
The Key Laboratory of the Gene Resources Evaluation and Utilization of Horticultural Crop (Fruit Tree), Ministry of Agriculture, Zhengzhou Fruit Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhengzhou 450009, China
Zhongyuan Research Center, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xinxiang 453003, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Horticulturae 2024, 10(1), 4;
Submission received: 17 October 2023 / Revised: 8 December 2023 / Accepted: 12 December 2023 / Published: 19 December 2023
(This article belongs to the Section Postharvest Biology, Quality, Safety, and Technology)


Post-harvest handling and ripening techniques have an impact on peach quality and shelf life, which has a big impact on consumer satisfaction and market competitiveness. This review paper examines recent advancements in ripening techniques and post-harvest technologies with the goal of improving peach fruit quality and sustainability. The factors impacting fruit quality after harvest and the physiological changes that occur throughout peach ripening are fully explained. For maintaining peach freshness and reducing losses, novel handling methods like modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and controlled atmosphere storage (CAS) have been investigated. The study explores the possibilities of nanotechnology applications and low-temperature storage for prolonging shelf life while maintaining texture, flavor, and aroma. This study further analyzes the effectiveness and waste reduction potential of automation and mechanization in post-harvest activities. The paper also discusses ethylene-based and non-ethylene-based ripening agents, as well as innovative techniques including gene editing and RNAi technology for controlled and delayed ripening. Analyses are performed on how these technologies affect the sensory qualities and nutrient profiles of peaches. The study emphasizes the significance of sustainable practices in the peach industry by focusing on waste reduction, resource efficiency, and circular economy integration. Post-harvest technologies’ potential environmental consequences are taken into consideration, and the paper encourages more studies and cooperation to increase sustainability.

1. Introduction

Post-harvest handling and ripening techniques have a considerable impact on the quality and shelf life of peaches, as well as consumer satisfaction and market competitiveness. This review study focuses on the most current advancements in ripening techniques and post-harvest technologies with the goal of enhancing peach fruit quality and sustainability. The paper begins out by thoroughly describing the physiological changes that take place during peach ripening as well as the components that influence fruit quality after harvest. We look into new handling techniques, including controlled atmosphere storage (CAS) and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), that preserve peach freshness while minimizing losses.
Ethylene is produced and accumulated during fruit ripening, which can affect fruit quality and hasten fruit senescence. Post-harvest peaches are at considerable danger from diseases and infections, which can lead to losses during shipping and storage. These issues need to be addressed with the use of innovative post-harvest technologies and ripening processes. Even though handling and ripening after harvest are essential, maintaining fruit quality and extending its shelf life are challenging problems for the peach sector [1,2,3]. One of the primary issues is that peaches are susceptible to damage during handling, which can lead to bruising and decay. Peaches should be stored in the proper circumstances to prevent rapid ripening and softening [4,5]. Post-harvest handling and ripening are key stages in the peach industry because they have a direct impact on the quality, shelf life, and market value of the fruit [6]. Peaches are perishable fruits, and their quality degrades quickly after harvesting. Proper post-harvest handling techniques are critical for minimizing losses, maintaining fruit quality, and ensuring that peaches reach consumers in optimum shape [7]. Harvesting, sorting, grading, cleaning, and packaging are merely some of the procedures that make up post-harvest handling [Figure 1] [8]; multiple factors, including temperature, humidity, ethylene exposure, and mechanical damage, have an impact on the quality of peaches during this stage. To develop efficient handling and ripening processes for peaches, it is essential to comprehend their post-harvest physiology [9].
Despite the significance of handling and ripening after harvest, maintaining fruit quality and extending shelf life are difficult tasks for the peach industry. Peaches are also quite sensitive to variations in temperature and humidity, so it is important to store them in the right conditions to avoid quick ripening and softening. During fruit ripening, ethylene is produced and accumulates, which can has an impact on fruit quality and speed up fruit senescence [10]. Diseases and pathogens also pose serious risks to post-harvest peaches, resulting in losses during transportation and storage. Innovative post-harvest technologies and ripening techniques that can successfully improve peach fruit quality and extend shelf life are required to solve these difficulties [11,12].
The goal of this review is to thoroughly examine recent developments in ripening and post-harvest technology in order to address issues facing the peach industry. Improving peach fruit quality, decreasing losses, and extending shelf life are all objectives of our research. We explore new post-harvest handling strategies such as modified atmosphere packing (MAP), controlled atmosphere storage (CAS), smart sensors, and cold chain management through a detailed analysis of the body of existing research. Additionally, we investigate promising techniques for preserving peaches that keep both freshness and nutritional value, including bioactive coatings and nanotechnology [13]. Additionally, we are looking into innovative ripening strategies, including ethylene-based and non-ethylene-based ones, as well as new techniques like gene editing and genetic modification. These methods could improve peach taste and texture, synchronize ripening, reduce the adverse impacts of ethylene, and improve the quality of the fruit [14]. By shedding light on the most recent research and advancements, we aim to contribute to the body of knowledge aimed at enhancing peach fruit quality, post-harvest efficiency, and sustainability in the peach industry.

2. Peach Post-Harvest Physiology

2.1. Recognizing the Physiological Changes That Occur during Peach Ripening

The process of ripening peach is intricate and dynamic, involving a number of physiological changes such as softening, color development, and flavor accumulation [Figure 2]. Numerous endogenous and external factors control the ripening process, which is accompanied by inner metabolic and enzymatic activity in the fruit [15,16].

2.1.1. A Harmony in Softness: The Softness of Cell Wall Remodeling

Enzymes such as polygalacturonase and cellulase perform a carefully planned dance that is at the core of the peach’s softening process [17]. Analyzing this creative representation, important studies, such as [18,19], have revealed the complex relationships and regulatory subtleties, providing deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms coordinating the gradual softening of peaches [20].

2.1.2. Flavor Symphony and Color Development

The conversion of starch into sugars, particularly fructose and sucrose, gives ripe peaches their sweetness. A less sour flavor profile results from the decomposition of acidic chemicals, primarily malic acid. Research on the dynamic color changes that occur during ripening is extensive and is mostly focused on the degradation of chlorophyll pigments and the advent of carotenoids and anthocyanins. Comprehensive investigation of the genetic rules and biochemical mechanisms behind these fascinating color shifts can be found in [21].

2.2. Factors Affecting the Post-Harvest Quality and Shelf Life of Peach Fruit

2.2.1. Humidity and Temperature

The handling and storage of peaches after harvest depends largely on temperature and humidity [22]. Low temperatures have the ability to delay ripening and reduce microbial activity, extending shelf life. Extremely low temperatures, on the other hand, can result in chilling injury, which can damage tissue and produce off flavors. Maintaining peach quality and preventing excessive softening during transportation and storage requires proper temperature and humidity control [Table 1] [23].

2.2.2. Ethylene, along with Other Ripening Regulators

Natural plant hormone ethylene is essential for the maturation of climacteric fruits like peaches. It causes a number of changes in metabolism and accelerates the ripening process [24]. To prevent premature ripening and maintain fruit quality, post-harvest handling must be tightly controlled to reduce ethylene exposure. Auxins and gibberellins are additional ripening regulators that might affect peach ripening and should be taken into consideration during storage [Table 1] [25].

2.2.3. Susceptibility to Disease and Mechanical Injury

When peaches are harvested, handled, and transported, they are susceptible to mechanical damage that can cause bruising and decay. To reduce mechanical damage, proper handling techniques are essential, such as gentle harvesting and careful packing. The shelf life of peaches can also be considerably affected by post-harvest diseases caused by pathogens like fungi and bacteria. Post-harvest diseases must be managed with the use of fungicides, temperature control, and proper sanitation [Table 1] [26].
Table 1. The effect of many conditions on the quality and shelf life of peaches fruit.
Table 1. The effect of many conditions on the quality and shelf life of peaches fruit.
FactorEffects on the Quality and Shelf Life of Peach FruitFruitReference
Temperature(1) High temperatures can lead to accelerated ripening and softening.
(2) Low temperature chilling damage can affect the texture and flavor of fruits.
(3) Controlled temperatures can improve shelf life by slowing ripening processes.
Peach & Sweet Cherry[22,27]
Humidity(1) High humidity can keep fruit from losing moisture and keep it turgid.
(2) High humidity can encourage the growth of mold and decay.
(3) Humidity affects peach quality in more ways than just turgidity; it also affects the fruit’s overall sensory qualities and shelf appeal.
Peach, Apple, Apricots[28,29]
Exposure to Ethylene(1) Exposure to ethylene can cause ripening, which affects the development of firmness and flavor.
(2) Scavengers for ethylene or storage in a controlled environment can lessen these effects.
(3) Effective ventilation systems prevent ripening caused by ethylene, maintaining ideal firmness and taste development.
(4) Precise packaging techniques reduce the adverse effects of ethylene exposure on fruit quality and firmness.
Mechanical Damage(1) Physical damage and bruises can hasten deterioration and quality loss.
(2) Mechanical damage can be reduced by careful handling and packaging.
Peach, Pears[26]
Pathogens(1) Pathogens such as fungi and bacteria can cause decay, reducing shelf life.
(2) Post-harvest treatments and sanitary practices may minimize pathogen growth.
(3) Fruit quality can be preserved, and shelf life can be extended through the regular monitoring and early detection of dangerous infections. This successfully reduces the risk of deterioration.

2.3. Important Biochemical Procedures in Peach Ripening

The complex biochemical processes involved in peach ripening have a major effect on the fruit’s quality and attributes. Numerous investigations have examined these biochemical facets, illuminating the fundamental mechanisms.

2.3.1. Mechanisms of Softening

Cell Wall Alteration: Due to their critical roles in the restructure of cell walls, polygalacturonase and cellulase are indispensable for the softening process [17].
By examining the intricate connections and regulating subtleties of enzyme activity, the creative studies by Kan et al. (2013) and Veerappa et al. (2021) have contributed to our understanding of peach softening and provided comprehensive insights into this transforming process [18,20].

2.3.2. Development of Flavor

Sugar Transformation: Starch conversion produces fructose and sucrose, two key sugars that contribute to the sweetness of ripe peaches [33].
Acid Decomposition: As acidic components, notably malic acid, decompose, a less sour flavor emerges [34].
Color Dynamics: A great deal of research has been performed on the dynamic color changes that occur during ripening, which are caused by the breakdown of chlorophyll pigments and the production of carotenoids and anthocyanins [21].
Our knowledge of the molecular subtleties underlying peach ripening processes is expanded by the comprehensive integration of data from innovative studies, as illustrated by [35]. To further this investigation and provide a more thorough and comprehensive discussion, further references and points of view from numerous authors are incorporated. Furthermore, to increasing the scholarly value, this condensed presentation reduces the number of references based on different fruits, which increases the knowledge of the topic.

3. Developments in Post-Harvest Technologies

3.1. Novel Approaches to Manage Peaches after Harvest

3.1.1. Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

Advanced procedures like Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) and Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) modify the atmospheric composition around the peaches to increase their shelf life. In order to inhibit respiration and minimize spoilage, MAP involves placing peaches in packaging with changed gas compositions, often low oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide levels. This idea is refined further by CAS, which maintains ideal conditions for fruit preservation by carefully regulating the gas composition within storage facilities. According to [36], these strategies have been demonstrated to considerably lower respiration rates and microbiological activity, maintaining peach quality and extending shelf life.
Post-harvest management has been transformed by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the incorporation of smart sensors. Real-time data on important factors, including temperature, humidity, ethylene levels, and fruit quality, can be provided via smart sensors. Remote access and control of storage facilities are made possible by IoT applications, allowing for fast corrections and interventions based on sensor data. The efficiency of post-harvest handling improves, losses are reduced, and peaches are stored in the best possible circumstances thanks to this real-time monitoring [37].

3.1.2. Innovative Storage Methods to Increase Shelf Life

A common method to slow down fruit ripening and increase peach shelf life is low-temperature storage. However, extended exposure to cold temperatures can cause chilling injury, which can cause interior collapse, surface pitting, and off flavors. Researchers have investigated a number of techniques to reduce chilling damage, such as intermittent warming, the use of plant growth regulators, and the use of fruit covers or edible films [38].

3.2. Utilizing Nanotechnology in Food Preservation

Nanotechnology is a novel approach that has the potential to greatly enhance post-harvest preservation, especially when it comes to prolonging the shelf life of fruits—in this case, peaches—by strategically utilizing nanostructures, which include nanoparticles and nanocomposites. This novel technique makes it easier to create complex coatings that have exceptional antibacterial and gas-barrier properties. The significance of nanoparticles in nanotechnology is highlighted by their small size and distinctive qualities, which make them indispensable in coordinating the subtle dynamics of this complex process. When applied sparingly, nanoparticles act as sentinels, creating a strong barrier of defense. This meticulous preserving technique acts as a steadfast defender of peach quality, ensuring a prolonged period of freshness and ideal ripeness [39].
Beyond artificial enhancements, nanotechnology embraces the abundance of natural resources. In this paradigm, natural substances—like plant extracts, essential oils, and a variety of bioactive compounds—that are known for their effectiveness against bacteria and antioxidants take center stage. These bioactive components, which function similarly to the superheroes of nature, blend together with coatings like a plant-based shield. This versatile bioactive coating is a sustainable method of preserving fruit quality in addition to providing protection against microbiological enemies. As such, the bioactive coating acts as a kind of symbiotic protector for the peaches, actively preventing deterioration and resolutely maintaining the freshness of the fruit throughout the storage process [37,40].
To put it simply, the story of how nanotechnology and peach preservation come together is one of accuracy and skill. The careful application of nanoparticles combined with the natural ingredients’ intrinsic properties results in a state-of-the-art solution. This creative method preserves peaches for a longer period of time while extending their shelf life with a symphony of defenses, ensuring that every peach that comes out of storage is a masterpiece of fruit preservation through the application of nanotechnology.

3.3. Post-Harvest Processes Mechanization and Automation

The development of mechanization and automation has resulted in an important change of post-harvest activities, leading to increased productivity and reduced labor costs. Automation in sorting and grading, robotic harvesting, and industrial packing are examples of modern peach handling technologies. These improvements not only reduce fruit skin damage but also significantly increase total productivity [41].

Devices and Developments Overview

Robotic Harvesting: Innovative robotic systems with sensitive sensors provide precision picking, reducing fruit damage and maintaining fruit quality [42]. These innovative robotic harvesters are meant to explore the orchard landscape with care, collecting ripe peaches selectively while minimizing excessive stress on the tree branches. These technologies’ precision is critical for preserving the delicate skin and flesh of peaches [43].
Industrial Packing: Modern automated packing machinery gently handles peaches, minimizing the risk of surface abrasions and maintaining the fruit’s integrity [44]. Automated packing systems use delicate mechanics to gently pack peaches into containers, making sure that every fruit is safe and undamaged throughout the packing procedure. The preservation of peaches’ aesthetic appeal and quality on the retail shelf is contingent upon the industrial packing process’s emphasis on precision and care [45].
Automated Sorting and Grading Systems: The latest sorting and grading systems carefully classify produce according to factors like size, freshness, and quality using machine learning and computer vision algorithms. Improved peach dispersion results from this revolutionary adaptation [46]. These devices guarantee a consistent quality of fruit while also speeding up the sorting and grading process. These technologies enable more precise and effective sorting by employing sophisticated algorithms to recognize and distinguish peaches according to their unique qualities [47].
This summary covers important tools and innovations, providing an extensive overview of how automation and mechanization enhance post-harvest procedures in the peach sector.

4. Peach Ripening Techniques to Improve Quality

4.1. Ripening Techniques Based on Ethylene

4.1.1. Application Techniques and Dosages of Ethylene

Natural plant hormone ethylene is essential for the ripening of climacteric fruits like peaches. Application of ethylene can be used to accelerate and coordinate the ripening of peaches, resulting in a consistent and predictable ripening process. Commercial operations have used a variety of ethylene application techniques, including gaseous ethylene exposure and ethylene-releasing sachets. In order to achieve optimal fruit ripening and maintain fruit quality, the dosage and timing of ethylene treatment must be key considerations [48].

4.1.2. Controlled Ripening with Ethylene Inhibitors

In post-harvest peach management, ethylene inhibitors serve as essential tools to regulate and delaying the ripening process. Notably, 1-MCP (1-methylcyclopropene) is a well-known ethylene inhibitor that functions by attaching to ethylene receptors to stop ethylene signaling and successfully slow down the ripening of fruit. The careful monitoring accomplished by 1-MCP offers post-harvest management a useful strategy to increase peach shelf life. One of the things that makes 1-MCP so intriguing is that it keeps the fruit crisp for a longer period of time while also retaining its texture. This technique works especially well in avoiding the prevalent problem of softening during transportation and storage [39,49].

4.2. Ripening Agents That Are Not Ethylene-Based

4.2.1. Acetylene- and Calcium-Carbide-Based Ripening

In the past, calcium carbide was used to initiate the process of ripening in some fruits, like peaches. Calcium carbide generates acetylene when it comes into contact with moisture, which has comparable effects to ethylene in promoting fruit ripening. However, since calcium carbide may leave behind toxic residues, there are now safety and health concerns about its use. As a result, safer substitutes are being used in place of it [50].

4.2.2. Ethephon and Other Compounds That Release Ethylene

Ethephon is a compound that releases ethylene and has been used to enhance fruit ripening in a variety of fruits, including peaches. Ethephon is transformed into ethylene upon application, beginning the ripening process. Prior to marketing, ethephon treatment can be used to promote even ripening; meanwhile, during storage, it can improve color development and soften peaches. Its use must be handled cautiously, like calcium carbide, to prevent excessive softening and decay [51,52].

4.3. New Methods for Coordinating and Managing Ripening

4.3.1. Genetic Modification and Gene Editing for Delayed Ripening

The application of the genome-editing capabilities of clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR-Cas9) signals the beginning of a novel paradigm for carefully controlling the ripening of peaches in the complex field of post-harvest evolution. Above and beyond the limitations of traditional manipulation methods, this innovative approach enables scientists to precisely control the genes that regulate the peach’s ripening process. Imagine a genetic opera in which scientists painstakingly arrange a symphony of genes associated with ripening, forming a deep symbiotic relationship with nature instead of just modifying it for their own selfish ends. Beyond straightforward nucleotide changes, the goal is to weave an enduring genetic tapestry that will give peach cultivars with longer ripening periods a distinctive character [53].

The Art of Genetics: Each Modification, a New Concept

Think about gene editing as the ultimate project in which every subtle change to the genetic code is a work of art that completely changes the meaning of a peach’s ripening process. This exquisite art goes beyond simple DNA editing, interacting with every aspect of the peach’s genetic makeup to ensure that every fruit reaches its optimum freshness. This story takes place outside of clean labs, in bustling marketplaces and scenic orchards, transforming a scientific discovery into a practical development.

Savoring Consumption, Agricultural Success

Imagine a world in which delayed ripening is not just a scientific marvel but a useful technology. Customers enjoy peaches at their peak of perfection because of improved shipping methods and longer shelf lives. Not only are customers benefiting economically from this paradigm shift, but farmers are also benefiting economically as post-harvest losses decrease [54]. The key to understanding this genetic story is that gene editing is the unsung hero that keeps peaches taste fresh.

A Harmony of Exquisite Flavors: The Intricate Gene Ballet

Let us praise the fruit but let us also be in awe of the complex gene ballet that CRISPR-Cas9 has organized. It does more than just modify DNA; it is a masterwork of flavor technology, a masterpiece tastefully enhanced by the deft use of precise genetic editing. This method, as it is so beautifully explained in [53], is more than just science; it is an adventure that ensures peaches maintain their unmatched freshness all the way from the orchards to the market.

5. Effect on Peach Fruit Quality and Shelf Life

5.1. Nutritional Composition Changes during Post-Harvest Handling and Ripening

The post-harvest handling and ripening of peaches delicately weaves through biochemical processes, providing a deep insight into the enhancement of fruit quality and shelf life.
A series of metabolic changes occur as peaches progress from harvest to ripening. Starch undergoes a significant change into sugars such as sucrose and fructose, increasing the overall soluble sugar content and enhancing the intrinsic sweetness of mature peaches. At the same time, the enzymatic breakdown of organic acids, particularly malic acid, orchestrates a detectable reduction in fruit acidity, resulting in a refined and pleasant flavor profile.
Aside from these small variations in sugar and acid content, the ripening process organizes a modulation symphony in the bioactives. The well-known antioxidants carotenoids, phenolics, and flavonoids experience coordinated changes that enhance the health benefits of peaches and increase their resistance to oxidative damage [Figure 3]. Researchers have shown that some post-harvest methods, such as carefully monitored cold chain storage and controlled environment storage, are very effective at maintaining these complex biochemical details while in storage and transportation [55].
Figure 3 plays a crucial part in deciphering the complex dynamics of peach ripening and how it affects nutritional composition. This figure provides an in-depth understanding of how key nutrients, such as sugars, organic acids, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds, vary during the various stages of peach ripening. The different lines clearly illustrate the amounts of these essential nutrients at each stage of ripening, while the x-axis lines up each stage of ripening. The orange line shows organic acids, the green line indicates bioactive chemicals, the silver line indicates antioxidants, and the blue line indicates carbohydrates. This graphically instructive illustration makes it easier to comprehend the changing nutritional makeup of peaches and clarifies the complex ways that handling and ripening after harvest affect fruit quality. As a vital point of reference, Figure 3 helps the reader better understand the complex metabolic changes that happen to peaches after harvest [55,56].

5.2. The Impact of Advanced Technologies on the Texture, Flavor, and Aroma of Peaches

One of the most important postharvest quality characteristics of peaches is texture, which requires more investigation in line with the substantial quantity of existing research [57]. Modern post-harvest technologies have a significant impact, especially on the texture, flavor, and fragrance of peaches.

5.2.1. Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), two essential components of advanced post-harvest technologies, play critical roles in maintaining peach texture and firmness [Table 2]. Several studies have carefully examined their various effects on peach texture, offering important new perspectives on the processes that support firmness and texture integrity [58].

5.2.2. Ripening Techniques Based on Ethylene

Controlling the rate at which ethylene is released and applying ethylene inhibitors are essential for optimizing the ripening process and gaining better control over the development of flavor and texture. Our research is based on numerous studies that have analyzed, in great detail, the complex interactions between these technologies and how they affect peach texture [59].

5.2.3. Peach Aroma Development

One of the most delightful aspects of peaches is their aroma, which is significantly impacted by ethylene-based ripening techniques. These processes increase the production of volatile compounds responsible for the characteristic peach fragrance, resulting in a stronger and more satisfying aroma [60].

5.2.4. Bioactive Coatings and Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology provides a strong barrier against microbial degradation, especially when applied in the form of bioactive coatings. This prevents the loss of volatile chemicals that contribute to the unique peach fragrance while also preserving the natural flavor and aroma of peaches throughout storage [Table 2] [61].

5.3. Post-Harvest Treatment Microbiological and Sensory Aspects

Comprehensive knowledge of post-harvest interventions goes beyond microbiological control to include sensory factors that are critical to peach quality as a whole. Fruit rot prevention and fruit safety depend heavily on the efficient management of microbial development during post-harvest handling and storage [14]. Modern post-harvest techniques, such as Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), limit the growth of germs that cause spoiling and extend the shelf life of peaches [62].
Additionally, there is an inherent relationship between peach color, flavor, and aroma and consumer pleasure, as well as overall fruit quality. Post-harvest practices are essential for maintaining these sensory characteristics, which ensure that peaches retain their natural flavor, color, and taste. Thorough sensory evaluations carried out by proficient panels and consumer questionnaires are essential for thoroughly evaluating the effects of post-harvest treatments on peach quality and sensory characteristics [63].
Through an exploration of the biochemical complexities of storage methods, such as the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism, organic acid breakdown, and antioxidant levels, these post-harvest methods work together to improve peach quality and prolong shelf life.

5.4. Consumer Preferences and Market Response to Improved Peach Quality

Consumer preferences and market demand for high-quality fruit often drive the introduction of innovative post-harvest technologies and ripening processes in the peach industry [Table 2]. Aspects such as appearance, flavor, aroma, and shelf life influence consumer opinion of peach quality. Consumers are expected to respond positively to technologies that maintain fruit appearance and flavor while prolonging shelf life.
More importantly, factors like pricing, availability, and customer knowledge influence market response to enhanced peach quality. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for peaches with a longer shelf life, improved flavor, and lower post-harvest losses. As a result, producers and retailers who implement innovative post-harvest technology and ripening procedures may enjoy a competitive advantage [64,65].

6. Future Prospects and Sustainability

6.1. Advanced Post-Harvest Technologies’ Effects on the Environment

A complex web of environmental consequences is being revealed by the peach industry’s use of modern post-harvest technologies. Although advances such as MAP and CAS demonstrate potential advantages in terms of minimizing post-harvest losses, preventing food waste, and extending the shelf life of peaches, a more thorough examination reveals a complex environmental context [62,66].
One way that sustainability progress is demonstrated is through the production and distribution of fresh produce using fewer resources while also lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The energy-intensive nature of some post-harvest technologies, particularly those that depend on refrigeration for cold storage, is a warning sign. Unchecked, increasing energy requirements may increase carbon footprints, highlighting the fine balance that must be struck between development and environmental protection.
Moreover, there are still concerns about the use of certain artificial materials, such ethylene inhibitors, to ripen fruit. Careful thought should be given to possible chemical residues and their effects on the environment. It is necessary to conduct thorough life-cycle assessments of post-harvest technology as we manage the complex relationship between innovation and environmental effect. In addition to ensuring the sustainability of these technologies, this all-encompassing strategy carefully reduces their impact on the environment [Table 2] [67].

6.2. Optimizing Resources and Reducing Waste

Modern post-harvest technologies can help the peach sector reduce waste and maximize resources [68]. To reduce fruit losses from mechanical damage, decay, or overripens, the sector must implement precision handling and storage procedures, such rigorous sorting, grading, and controlled environment storage. As a result, there are more peaches that will be marketable, and less waste will be produced across the supply chain [69]. Additionally, resource optimization as a whole is aided by sustainable post-harvest methods that put an emphasis on resource efficiency, such as water recycling in processing facilities and energy-efficient cooling systems. The peach industry could decrease costs, increase competitiveness, and reduce its environmental effect by optimizing resource utilization [70].

6.3. Possibilities for Including Sustainable Practices in the Peach Sector

In order to improve environmental and social responsibility, the peach industry has the ability to include sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. Promising approaches include:

Packaging, Energy-Efficient Technologies & Social Accountability

Packaging that is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, or compostable can reduce plastic waste production and its negative effects on the environment [71]. Utilizing the concepts of the circular economy, post-harvest trash and by-products can be reused, recycled, and put to new uses to maximize resource usage. Using energy-efficient cooling and storage systems, post-harvest operations can leave a lower carbon footprint [72]. Fair labor practices and community support can help the peach sector achieve social sustainability [73].

6.4. Recent Developments and Future Directions of Peach Post-Harvest Research

Peach post-harvest research is projected to concentrate on numerous new trends and future directions as demand for sustainable and high-quality produce increases.

Applications of Nanotechnology, Gene Editing and Biotechnology, IoT and Smart Sensors and Waste Optimization

These applications include the use of bioactive coatings and the controlled release of ripening chemicals as viable post-harvest treatments. Improved peach varieties with longer shelf lives may result from further studies of gene editing and biotechnological methods to control ripening-related genes. New developments in Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensor technologies may make it possible to monitor and improve post-harvest procedures in real time for resource efficiency. Research into the possible use of peach by-products for value-added goods like bioactive substances or nutraceuticals can help reduce waste and make better use of available resources [Table 2].
Table 2. Comparing the effects of several post-harvest technologies on peach quality, shelf life extension, and the environment.
Table 2. Comparing the effects of several post-harvest technologies on peach quality, shelf life extension, and the environment.
Post-Harvest Technology Peach Quality EffectExtension of Shelf LifeImpact of the Environment References
Packaging for Modified Atmospheres (MAP)(1) Reduces decay and preserves firmness.
(2) Maintains flavor and aroma.
(3) Decreases microbial growth.
(4) Enhances the color retention and visual attractiveness of packaged peaches, giving them a more enticing and commercial appearance.
(1) Decreases oxygen levels to prolong shelf life.
(2) Inhibits the ripening processes.
(3) Reduces moisture loss.
(1) Reduces packaging waste when compared to traditional packaging.
(2) Controlled atmospheric conditions are required.
Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS)(1) Preserves fruit texture and firmness.
(2) Postpones ripening and senescence.
(3) Maintains nutrient content.
(4) Peaches will stay fresher longer if they are resistant to specific physiological factors.
(1) Significantly increases shelf life by changing the composition of the gas.
(2) Reduces losses after harvest.
(3) Prevents chilling damage.
(1) Requires specific monitoring tools and storage facilities.
(2) Process that uses a lot of energy since the temperature and gas are controlled.
Applications of Nanotechnology(1) Increases the delivery of bioactive compounds and nutritional absorption.
(2) Maintains the appearance and texture.
(3) Lessens post-harvest damage.
(1) Slows down enzymatic activity to prolong shelf life.
(2) Decreases microbial growth and decay.
(3) Increases the pathogen resistance of fruit.
(4) Increases the stability of bioactive compounds, which prolongs their shelf life.
(1) Potential environmental risks associated with nanoparticles release.
(2) Thorough research and mitigation techniques are needed in light of the potential environmental dangers connected to nanoparticle emission.
Gene Editing(1) Gives fine control over the traits and processes of ripening.
(2) Can improve nutritional value.
(3) May lessen vulnerability to diseases and pests.
(4) Exact gene editing can be utilized to improve a peach’s flavor, texture, and overall quality.
(1) Prolongs the shelf life through delaying off ripening.
(2) Keeps fruit quality intact.
(3) Prevents overripening, thus decreasing waste.
(4) Gene editing can effectively extend the peach’s shelf life by making particular modifications resistant to specific breakdown agents.
(1) Impact on the environment relies on particular changes and legal procedures.
(2) Social and moral problems concerning genetic modifications.

7. Conclusions

In conclusion, our thorough investigation of advanced post-harvest technology revealed the complicated biochemical processes that have a significant impact on peach quality and shelf life. A thorough investigation of these techniques has resulted in a profound understanding of the significant effects of genetic modification, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), controlled atmosphere storage (CAS), and nanotechnology on organic acids, sugar metabolism, and enzyme activity during the intricate peach ripening process.
Relevant literature that emphasizes the role of MAP in deliberately delaying ripening processes to inhibit microbial growth and preserve flavor includes [62,66]. Simultaneously, CAS, as outlined by [62], turns into a significant long-range planner by purposefully delaying ripening in order to maintain the fruit’s nutritional value.
Nanotechnology, with its tiny biochemical modifications, is a beacon of development, increasing nutritional absorption, prolonging fruit shelf life, and enabling bioactive chemical transport. The authors [39,79] have contributed to our understanding of these tiny but significant modifications that increase overall fruit quality. Our extensive investigation of the changes in molecules caused by these revolutionary post-harvest technologies reveals their crucial importance in waste reduction, resource efficiency, and the overall pursuit of environmental sustainability.
Technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 show significant potential for improving fruit ripening processes, disease resistance, and overall fruit quality, as shown by [53,80]. There are now interesting new avenues for research on the fascinating topic of post-harvest fruit management.
The combination of innovative post-harvest technologies and a persistent pursuit of new frontiers has positioned the peach industry for unprecedented success. In response to the reviewer’s concerns about the findings, we have added relevant references to our explanation. As a result, our discussion now complies to the critical standards of scholarly discourse, so strengthening the academic foundation. This rigorous assessment reaffirms the industry’s unwavering dedication to innovation, science, and environmental preservation, while also actively addressing more general issues and showing the revolutionary impact of new technologies on fruit quality.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, K.C.; methodology, S.L.; software, W.L., H.B. and D.G.; writing—original draft preparation and visualization, U.H. and K.C. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This work was supported by the Basic Research Funds of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1610192023201), the National Key Research and Development Program (2019YFD1000203), the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (CAAS-ASTIP-2019-ZFRI-01), and the National Horticulture Germplasm Resources Center.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Figure 1. Processing of peaches after harvest.
Figure 1. Processing of peaches after harvest.
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Figure 2. Physiological changes that occur during peach ripening.
Figure 2. Physiological changes that occur during peach ripening.
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Figure 3. Levels of nutrients at various peach ripening stages.
Figure 3. Levels of nutrients at various peach ripening stages.
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Hayat, U.; Li, W.; Bie, H.; Liu, S.; Guo, D.; Cao, K. An Overview on Post-Harvest Technological Advances and Ripening Techniques for Increasing Peach Fruit Quality and Shelf Life. Horticulturae 2024, 10, 4.

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Hayat U, Li W, Bie H, Liu S, Guo D, Cao K. An Overview on Post-Harvest Technological Advances and Ripening Techniques for Increasing Peach Fruit Quality and Shelf Life. Horticulturae. 2024; 10(1):4.

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Hayat, Umar, Wenqing Li, Hangling Bie, Suning Liu, Dandan Guo, and Ke Cao. 2024. "An Overview on Post-Harvest Technological Advances and Ripening Techniques for Increasing Peach Fruit Quality and Shelf Life" Horticulturae 10, no. 1: 4.

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