Main Article Content
Nowadays, the main goal for modern horticultural production is the increase of quality. Furthermore, in consideration of the new consumer demand, always more attracted by a diet based on a larger consumption of fruit and vegetables without risks of pesticides residues and with increased nutritional value, new important features in addition to the traditional quality attributes are now requested. For a program of qualification and valorisation of modern horticultural productions, it is fundamental a study of the major quality determinants organized by following a heuristic approache useful to identify the contribution of each factor in defining the quality of the product. The genetic knowledge applied to all available techniques useful for the creation of new genetic variability surely represent the most important starting point for the release of new varieties with increased nutritional quality without limitation in plant productivity. About agronomic practices, new opportunities are offered by the sustainable management of the production factors able to improve the plant-environment interaction, to well address the reduction of inputs needed for the production, and finally to induce specific stress conditions able to promote higher quality at reduced inputs. Much more attention is also addressed to the post-harvest technologies, this because of the increased needs to guarantee the preservation of the high quality obtained in the field until the consumer use. Taking in account such complexity of the horticultural production systems and examples of some major model crops, an outlook of the main determinants and potential valorisation of high quality horticultural products are attempted.
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