At the Center for Horticultural Innovation, we believe that food science testing is one of the best ways to learn about and improve upon the flavor, quality, and longevity of greenhouse-grown produce.

In our R&D harvest lab, our team runs a wide variety of tests on fresh produce samples to analyze different attributes, such as sugar levels, acidity, and firmness. We are committed to applying what we learn from this important food science research to help our greenhouse partners grow the best tasting and highest quality produce available!

Brix & pH Testing

Using a food science approach, our team completes Brix testing on produce samples to determine the sugar content in the fruit.

To do this, we first need to blend the fruit and turn it into a liquid. We then use a machine to pull the liquid sample into a chamber where the Brix levels are measured. The machine then displays the Brix level of the sugar found in the fruit, which ultimately tells us how sweet the fruit tastes. We also complete similar pH testing to determine a fruit’s acidity levels.

By analyzing the sweetness and acidity levels of greenhouse-grown produce, our team remains on the forefront of discovering the next best tasting produce varieties grown within the horticultural industry.

Shelf-Life Testing

Along with measuring a fruit’s weight and firmness, our team completes in-depth shelf-life testing to check how aging and storage conditions affect the quality of a fruit.

We place our produce samples in optimum storage conditions – normally at room temperature for seven days – and see how aging in this environment has affected the samples. We check for any visible changes on the surface of the fruit, as well as how its firmness was affected.

Shelf-life testing is a crucial part of food science research: by testing the shelf-life of our fruit samples, we can help ensure our partners grow high quality greenhouse produce that keeps consumers happy and ultimately strengthens the fresh produce supply chain.

Learn More About R&D at SEF

Interested in learning more about the different research activities we’re leading at our R&D facility? Visit our Center for Horticultural Innovation webpage.