Omni-science: Transformative approaches to postharvest technology

Thorpe, Graham R (2010) Omni-science: Transformative approaches to postharvest technology. In: 10th International Conference on Stored Products Protection, 27 Jun - 02 Jul 2010, 10th International Working Conference on Stored Products Protection, Estoril, Portugal. (Submitted)


Postharvest technology is predicted to experience a transformation over the next couple of decades. Some of the changes may be wrought by as yet unforeseen developments in science, but others will result from the rapid evolution of computer software and hardware. Commercial software is presently available that integrates many strands of engineering science such as structural mechanics, the flow of particulate solids, the distribution of gases within buildings and thermal analysis. The software also enables interactions between these various processes, and the approach is referred to as multi-physics. Commercially available software can be tailored to account for biological phenomena such as the effects of the microenvironments in grain stores on the viability of seeds, the rate of decay of pesticides, the propensity of insect populations to increase and so on. The time is ripe to integrate these chemico-biological aspects of grain storage with multi-physics to form what might be dubbed an omni-scientific approach to postharvest technology. The development of such an approach will help unify the disparate sciences involved in grain handling, and it will provide an explicit overarching intellectual framework into which individuals' work will fit. Information and communications technology will not only enable technical problems to be addressed, but it will enable a range of specialists to contribute simultaneously to solving particular problems. Such a scenario will have a profound effect on the postharvest profession, and it will require a radically new approach to the education and formation of stored grains technologists. These specialists must continue to have deep knowledge of their areas of science such as genetics, analytical chemistry, fluid dynamics and so on, but they must also be familiar with the integrating software tools and a broad range of science. Postharvest professionals will need to be omni-scientists, whilst recognising that omniscience is unattainable.

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Item type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 210000 Science-General
Historical > FOR Classification > 1204 Engineering Design
Historical > SEO Classification > 8204 Summer Grains and Oilseeds
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering (CESARE)
Historical > SEO Classification > 970110 Expanding Knowledge in Technology
Keywords Omni-science, multiphysics, postharvest, grains, storage, postharvest technology
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