Control in [fresh food] Physiology


Fruit Sensors in Precision Horticulture

What does Precision Horticulture capture?

It is a concept developed in research capturing data collection in the orchard (apple, banana, mango, citrus) or greenhouse (tomato) and postharvest by means of sensor systems, spatio-temporal mapping of plant and produce traits, and decision support along the supply chain.

Why do we need it and what is the expected impact on horticulture?

Advanced information on the product in the production, at harvest, and in postharvest storage and shelf life provides knowledge in the various processes along the supply chain. Using this knowledge, errors (leading to waste of resources or food) can be avoided.

How does it work?

  • Plant and fruit sensors use modern information and communication technology (ICT) for collecting online in-situ data on the sample development and visualize the crop.
  • The sensor information provide an insight in the apparent plant and fruit development aiding maturity monitoring for, e.g., irrigation, marketing, harvest, and storage decisions.
  • Measured product variables provide the input data for simulation and forecasting the development of fresh produce by means of digital twins.

The development of optical sensors has been a driving factor in our projects and products. CP received a Technology Award of the state Brandenburg, Germany, for developing a handheld sensor system enabling the monitoring of fruit quality along the supply chain based on SW-NIR spectroscopy already in 2003.

Nowadays, beside further advancing sensor solutions, the software design has been developed as a crucial pile of our work. In international projects, customized mobile apps have been built. Particularly functional apps, being able to show and analyse data, became the favoured user interface to meet the requests of customers, additionally to browser-based solutions. On a company-internal playing ground, the non-commercial mobile app FIORAMA was developed, showing nicely how sensor data can be brought to the hand of the user.

Food Processing

Primary industry: On the topic of implementing sensors in the greenhouse production process, monitoring tomato fruit quality online, we were in the winner team ZINEG for the German Sustainability Award in the sector research.

Meat quality analysis: FreshScan sensor [link to come] supported the analysis of phorphyrins in meat. We are proud to have contributed the sensor enabling awarded research.

Cheese production: Monitoring of carotenoids supports the cheese production process.


[link to come]