UMR_C95 QUALISUD - Integrated approach to obtaining quality food


The objective of the QUALISUD research unit is to study the effects of environmental conditions (temperature, light, water, CO2 and O2 composition of the atmosphere) on the quality of plant products in post-harvest storage. The focus is on the effects of pre-harvest cultivation conditions on the development of post-harvest quality. The main objective is to improve shelf life in order to reduce losses of fresh fruit and vegetables, while maintaining or improving nutritional quality.

In the case of live products, i.e. those with physiological activity (fruit and vegetables marketed fresh, fourth range), the notion of quality is complex because it is not stabilised over time. The quality expected by the consumer must meet marketability criteria, the main ones being functional and nutritional quality. Quality reflects the impact of an interactive set of factors specific to the plant (variety, harvest stage) and extrinsic to the plant (growing conditions, storage conditions and treatments). A major challenge is to assess the level of genericity (common responses) and the level of adaptation (specific responses) of the mechanisms.
Among the mechanisms involved, the laboratory focuses its work on the effect of environmental conditions on antioxidant metabolism and the synthesis of secondary metabolites.

The laboratory has expertise in plant physiology, ecophysiology, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and food science.
With its long experience of collaboration with socio-economic partners, the laboratory offers support to production sectors (validation of the improvement of nutritional quality and health effects) or to companies marketing and processing fresh produce (storage, packaging, conservation, fourth range processing).


Véronique Vidal

Courses offered

  • Master Agrosciences Quality Management of Plant Productions

Research activities

  • Study of the effects of environmental factors on the functioning of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant systems.
  • Gene expression and regulation of vitamin C, carotenoids and phenolic compounds metabolism.
  • The water status of the tissues and their respiratory and photosynthetic activities.


  • UMR Qualisud, CIRAD Montpellier
  • Ecophysiology Laboratory,
  • UMR Bioemco, University of Paris Val de Marne
  • The Life Science Trace Gas Facility, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • EA 3296, Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand
  • EMBRAPA, Brazil

Further information

Skills and know-how

  • Analysis of gene expression by quantitative PCR.
  • Measurement of photosynthesis, respiration, fluorescence (Licor 6400), water status (water potential, turgidity potential).
  • Gas analysis, selective packaging, film bank, permeability.
  • Quality analysis - various biochemical assays by microplate spectrophotometer, HPLC.
  • Light and fluorescence microscopy.

Specific equipment

  • Experimental Greenhouse
  • Climate chambers
  • Quantitative PCR
  • Microplate reader
  • Analysers: Ethylene / O2-CO2
  • Handy PEA - LICOR li6400
  • Optical microscopy and fluorescence analysis platform
  • HPLC


Jean-Henri Fabre Campus
Agrosciences Division
301 Baruch de Spinoza Street
BP 21239
84916 Avignon Cedex 9

+33 (0)4 90 84 22 03



Quality / Post-harvest preservation / Loss reduction / Environmental factors / Secondary metabolism / Stress / Packaging / Fourth range processing / Packaging / Modified atmosphere / Thermotherapy / Visible and UV LED lighting / Modelling