Case studies

Some case studies of research projects within Joint Graduate School of Horticulture and Food Enterprise groups.

The New Zealand Life Cycle Management Centre

The New Zealand Life Cycle Management Centre, launched in 2010, is a collaboration between Massey University and Plant & Food Research, along with AgResearch, Landcare Research and SCION.

Its goal is to build capability in Life Cycle Management (LCM) by providing education, training and research to LCM professionals to meet increasing consumer demand for green metrics on products.

The concept of Life Cycle Thinking underlies the approach used in LCM. Starting with a consumer product such as an apple, a merino jumper or a pack of dried milk, the whole supply chain can be modelled upstream back through the retail, distribution, and agricultural production stages, and even back to production of the fertilisers and pesticides used in agricultural production.

Gold kiwifruit each day reduces cold symptoms

Adding gold kiwifruit to your diet may lead to less suffering from symptoms of common illnesses such as colds, research suggests.

A study led by Plant & Food Research has shown that eating gold kiwifruit is beneficial in reducing some cold symptoms in healthy, older people (65 years+). The research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, shows that eating gold kiwifruit daily significantly reduced the duration and severity of some cold symptoms, including sore throats and head congestion.

The research was funded by ZESPRI International Limited, and was conducted in association with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University. ‘Hort16A’, marketed as ZESPRI® Gold Kiwifruit, was developed by Plant & Food Research, that receives a royalty based on sales.

Blueberries hasten muscle recovery

A study has found athletes who eat New Zealand blueberries recover faster from exercise.

Plant & Food Research and Massey University School of Sport and Exercise scientists have worked on the research, which has been published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Massey's head of Sport and Exercise Science Dr Steve Stannard says the findings could help Olympians and other athletes return to peak performance faster after strenuous exercise.

Agreement to further ornamentals research

Plant & Food Research has a new agreement with Massey University to provide funding and resources in support of three postgraduate students undertaking research with ornamental crops.

This research, co-led by Dr Keith Funnell at Plant & Food Research and Dr David Woolley at Massey, will contribute to an understanding of branching, colour and other desired traits to support the breeding of new varieties of ornamental plants and flowers, as well as technologies to improve yield and quality of ornamental plant species. New Zealand exports $41 million of cut flowers and ornamental plants each year.

Developing plant derived foods to keep us feeling full

Discovering how plant foods reduce appetite and keep people feeling fuller for longer is the focus of a new Plant & Food Research programme receiving investment from New Zealand food companies and government.

The six-year research programme has secured $19.2 million over six years from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) together with substantial financial backing from Sanitarium, Comvita and NZ Extracts.

The Plant & Food Research programme will also involve key scientists in this area from the University of Auckland and Massey University.  In addition overseas experts will have an important input into our understanding of the potential appetite control mechanisms triggered as food passes along the digestive tract.

Researching the Psa family tree to develop new breeding tools

A team of researchers from four countries have analysed the DNA of the kiwifruit disease Psa to identify its origins and develop new ways of breeding for resistance against it.

An international collaboration of scientists at five organisations - Plant & Food Research and Massey University in New Zealand, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany, University of Basel in Switzerland and the University of Toronto in Canada – has shown that a single source of the Psa bacterium is responsible for the recent outbreaks of Psa in New Zealand and Italy, as well as earlier outbreaks in Japan and Korea.

The research is published in the leading international journal of pathogen biology PLoS Pathogens.

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