Research areas

Texture analysis

Our staff and students do research in the following research areas.

Physiology of horticultural products

Characterisation of product responses to temperature, atmospheric composition and water vapour pressure deficit; gas exchange through skins of fruits and vegetables; product quality; development of surface coatings for fruits and vegetables; enhancing volatile contents of fruit juices; causes of storage disorders in fruits; effects of ethylene on fruit softening; ethylene production by kiwifruit infected with Botrytis; fruit water status and bruising; phytochemical change after harvest and during processing

Postharvest technology of horticultural products

Improvement of handling systems to reduce deterioration in quality; friction discoloration in pears, bruising in apples and kiwifruit; grading table design; instrumented sphere for monitoring bruising potential of handling systems; overcoming stimulation of water loss caused by brush cleaning; optimising curing conditions for control of Botrytis in kiwifruit; development of treatments for enhancing the vaselife of cut flowers; non-destructive testing of product quality.

Packaging system performance

Modelling time-variation of apple modified atmosphere package atmosphere composition; effects of packaging on meat chilling systems and meat quality; paper pulp tray design and modelling; protection of fruit from bruising in packages; modelling of impacts in multi-layered packages; measurement of shock and vibration characteristics of a package design; improving strength and design to corrugated fibreboard packaging.

Refrigeration system performance

Dynamic simulation of systems used in food chilling, freezing and storage for improved control and energy efficiency; performance of air coolers, including relative humidity stabilisation; CFC substitution; software for refrigeration systems analysis and design; short courses for industrial refrigeration engineers.

Modelling of chilling and freezing processes

Prediction of product chilling or freezing rates taking into account effects of shape, evaporation and convection, packaging, bulk stacking, air-voidage and time-variable conditions.

Food properties and quality

Dependence of quality on water relations in frozen vegetables; development of twist tester; non-destructive fruit quality assessment; bruise assessment methodology, including image analysis; modelling fruit structure in relation to quality; temperature and humidity effects on physical properties; shelf life evaluation of packaged foods using computer simulation and acceleration storage methods; prediction of storage out-turn.

Postharvest pathology

Use of biological control agents to control disease; factors influencing pathogenicity of Botrytis; ethylene production by kiwifruit infected with Botrytis; optimising curing conditions for control of Botrytis in kiwifruit.

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