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Curtin University
Environment and Agriculture

Horticulture Research Laboratory

Horticulture Laboratory

Aims

Current research areas

Research focuses on fruit crops, other horticultural crops and Australian bush food in the following areas

  1. Postharvest physiology of fruit crops
    • Impact of pre-harvest and postharvest factors on shelf life and postharvest quality.
    • Physiology of fruit ripening.
    • Ethylene management during ripening and storage of horticultural crops.
    • Postharvest oxidative stress and physiological disorders.
    • Regulation of fruit colour and aroma.
    • Controlled atmosphere (CA) storage of fruits.
    • Modified atmosphere, environmentally and consumer friendly packaging of fruits.
  2. Production Technology of fruit crops.
  3. Postharvest handling of Australian bush food.

Research Innovations

  • Development of gene transfer technology in mango.
  • Extending storage life of mango through controlled atmosphere storage of Australian mango.
  • Development of Postharvest disinfestation technology for bush tomatoes.
  • Extending storage life for plums up to six weeks using 1-methylcyclopropene in conjunction with modified atmosphere packaging.
  • Pink Lady™ Colour Development technology leads to double the percentage of fruit which meets colour requirements for export.

Research Staff and Postgraduate students

  • Dr. Zora Singh, Foundation Professor Postharvest Horticulture.
  • DR E Swinny, Adjunct Associate Professor.
  • Adjunct Associate Professor John Janes.
  • Ms Susan Petersen, Senior Technical Officer.
  • PhD students five.
  • MSc students one.
  • Visiting Scientists 1-2/year.

Current Research Projects

  • Albedo Breakdown in Sweet Oranges – Role of Gibberellins (Ismail Bin Iberahim Zora Singh Roger Mandel).
  • Roles of brassinosteroids and methyl jasmonate on ripening and fruit softening of mango (Mrs S Z Sakimin and Zora Singh and G Simons, University of Tasmania).
  • Postharvest Oxidative Stress in Plum Fruit: Mechanism and Implications in Storage and Quality (S P Singh, Zora Singh and E E Swinny, Chemistry Centre Western Australia).
  • Berry colour, crispness, flavour and storage life of Crimson Seedless grapes in relation to grapevine viruses (Ms D R Alagappan, Zora singh and Colin Gordon, DAFWA).
  • Fruit colour, shelf life and quality of ‘Pink Lady’ apple in response to pre-harvest practices (M Shafiq, Zora Singh and and E E Swinny, Chemistry Centre Western Australia).
  • Regulation of fruit softening, colour development and quality in controlled atmosphere stored mango (S Maria and Zora Singh and S C Tan, DAFWA).

Research Facilities and Equipment

  • Three temperature control rooms.
  • Six temperature and humidity control cabinets.
  • Hunter Lab Colour Flex.
  • Electronic pressure tester.
  • Digital refractometer.
  • Infra Red Gas Analyser (Servomex CO2 and O2 analyser).
  • UV/VIS Spectrophotometer.
  • Agilent Gas Chromatograph -6890N.
  • HPLC.
  • Texture analyser.
  • Chest freezers
  • Freezer – 80°C.
  • Temperature controlled water bath.
  • Fruit quality equipment used for analysis.

Current PhD Research students at Horticulture Research laboratory

  • S P Singh.
  • Ms. S Z Sakimin.
  • Mr Ismail B Iberahim.
  • Ms D R Alagappan (MSc).
  • Mr. M Shafiq.

Awards/Recognition Received by PhD students

Commendation’s form the Chancellor of the University for outstanding PhD theses

(i) W Z B wan Sembok 2009
(ii) K T H Dang-2007
(iii) (ii) A S Khan-2007
(iv) L Mukkun-2003
(v) H D J Lalel-2002.

National and International Conference Travel Award

2008: S P Singh awarded U. P. Hedrick Student Paper Award 2008 from the American Pomological Society, USA.
2008: S P Singh awarded the Student Conference Travel Award ($1000) by the Australian Society of Horticultural Science to present a paper in The National and Trans-Tasman Horticultural Science Conference, Queensland.
2005: M Shafiq awarded the Student Conference Travel Award by organisers of the Australasian Postharvest Conference, New Zealand.
2004: V Agrez awarded The Student Travel Grant from the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) for presentation of a paper at the ASHS Annual Conference, USA.

Young Scientist Encouragement Award

2000: S Nair awarded ‘Young Scientist Encouragement Award’ by the Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture for his paper presented at International Symposium on Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, Australia.

Awards/Recognition Received by my Honours students

2006: P. Sandhu awarded Rural Press-Good Fruit and Vegetable Award for her best Honours dissertation.
2003: T. Jones awarded Rural Press-Good Fruit and Vegetable Award for his best Honours dissertation.
2002: K. Thompson awarded Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology Young Professional in Agriculture (second) for her outstanding honours research.
2003: A. Waters awarded Rural Press-Good Fruit and Vegetable Award for her best Honours dissertation.
2002: K. Kennison awarded Daniel Wansborough Prize for her best Honours dissertation in Muresk Institute.
1998: V. Agrez awarded Daniel Wansborough Prize for his best Honours dissertation in Muresk Institute.

Successfully Completed Research Projects

  • Fruit colour, shelf life and quality of ‘Pink Lady’ apple in response to deficit regulated irrigation practices (Ms Wan Sembok and Zora Singh).
  • Regulation of fruit colour development in Crimson Seedless table grapes (Zora Singh, H S Brar and Ian Cameron, DAWA).
  • Pre-harvest factors affecting fruit quality in sweet oranges with an emphasis on albedo breakdown (P T M Tam, Zora Singh and Prof H Behboudian, Massey University, New Zealand).
  • Sustainable bush produce systems for the arid zone (“Bush produce systems”) – “Post-harvest storage and produce quality” (Zora Singh, M Majer, F De Lima, DAFWA).
  • Pre-and Postharvest factors affecting aroma volatile production in mango. (Ms K T H Dang, Zora Singh and Dr E E Swinny, Chemistry Centre WA).
  • Postharvest quality management of plum (Khan, A S, Zora Singh and E E Swinny, Chemistry Centre WA).
  • Regulation of fruit colour development in apple. (Ms S Kulur, Zora Singh and J Janes).
  • Mechanism of fruitlet abscission and fruit ripening of Mango – with a particular reference to polyamines (Mr. A.U. Malik, Zora Singh).
  • Postharvest quality management of strawberry. (Ms Lince Mukkun, Zora Singh and Dennis R. Phillips, AgWA).
  • Biochemical aspects and control of chilling injury in mango fruit (Mr.S. Nair, Zora Singh and SC Tan, AgWA).
  • Biochemical aspects of volatile aroma production of mango fruits (Mr. H Lalel, Zora Singh and SC Tan, AgWA).
  • Evaluation of edible coating to extend shelf life and improve quality of mango (Ms Mimi Zora Singh and D Vine).
  • Production physiology and postharvest technology of mango in a Mediterranean climate in Western Australia (Zora Singh)
  • Regulation of pre and postharvest fruit colour development in apples (Zora Singh).
  • Mechanism of chilling injury of mango fruit – with a particular reference to polyamines and ethylene (Zora Singh).
  • Regulation of volatile aroma production in mango fruits with a particular reference to ethylene and controlled atmosphere storage (Zora Singh).
  • Role of ethylene in fruit set (Zora Singh).
  • Regulation of bud dormancy in wine grapes (Zora Singh).

International Visiting Scientists/Postdoctoral fellows

Current

2009-10 Associate Professor Dr. Zafar Iqbal, University of Sargodha, HEC funded Postdoctoral Fellow.
2009-10 Associate Professor Dr. Saeed Ahmad Sandhu, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, HEC funded Postdoctoral Fellow.
2009-10 Assistant Professor Dr Imran Hassan, Arid agriculture University Rawalpindi, HEC funded Postdoctoral Fellow.
2008 Mr. M J Tareen, Director Agriculture in Agriculture Research Institute, Balochistan – HEC funded Pre-doctoral Fellow.

Past

2007 Professor Dr M A Pervez, Director, Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
2006 Professor Dr Mohammad Jamil Ahmed, University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir University, Faculty of Agriculture, Rawalakot, Pakistan.
2005 Dr M J Majer, funded by Desert Knowledge, Australia.
2005 Professor M.H. Behboudian, Massey University, New Zealand.
2005 Dr. I M S Utama, Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia.
2004 Professor Dr N A Abbasi, University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
2002 Associate Professor MIS Gill, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India.
2001 Professor Dr Zhuolie Huang, South China Agricultural University, China.
2000 Dr Yenny Raja Kana, Head Agronomy, Faculty of Nusa Cendana, Kupung, West Timor, IndonesiaProfessor M.H. Behboudian, Massey University, New Zealand.
1998 Dr Bhaskara Chary, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India.

Collaborators

  • Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia.
  • Chemistry Centre Western Australia.
  • University of Arid agriculture Rawalpindi.
  • University of Florida, USA.
  • Massey University, New Zealand.
  • Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India.
  • University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.