Horticulturists join the DPI to to maximise the quality and safety of NSW fruit and vegetables available to consumers.

Horticulture researchers Dr Roberto Marques and Dr SP Singh have joined the DPI postharvest team.
Horticulture researchers Dr Roberto Marques and Dr SP Singh have joined the DPI postharvest team.

Two new research horticulturists have been appointed to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to maximise the quality and safety of NSW fruit and vegetables available to consumers.

Dr Sukhvinder Pal Singh and Dr Roberto Marques will broaden the scope of the DPI post-harvest research team based at the Central Coast Primary Industries Centre, Ourimbah near Gosford.

They will evaluate new varieties of fruit and help to develop better on-farm practices and ripening and storage techniques to improve safety and consumer satisfaction.

Dr Singh’s previous research focussed on tools for the discovery and validation of genetic biomarkers in fresh fruits for quality and safety.

In his new role, Dr Singh will develop science-based strategies to mitigate the food safety risks associated with pre-harvest and post-harvest practices of fresh horticultural produce.

DPI Manager Horticulture, Dr Deborah Hailstones said “Adapting to a food safety culture in our horticultural industries is an emerging challenge to meet regulatory and consumer expectations.”

Dr Marques will conduct research in sensory evaluation and consumer preferences to determine which fruits and vegetables consumers value and want.

Dr Marques will also examine the supply chain impacts on these traits.

“The team works with farmers, market agents and retailers to identify production and post-harvest practices that optimise product quality at all stages of the supply chain including harvest, packaging, transport storage and retail display,” Dr Hailstones said.