The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Consumer and Sensory Driven Improvements to the Quality of Fruits and Nuts

Sponsored by the ISHS sections Citrus, Nuts and Mediterranean Climate Fruits, Pome and Stone Fruits, Vine and Berry Fruits and the Commission Quality and Postharvest Horticulture

The International Symposium on “Consumer and sensory driven improvements to the quality of fruits and nuts” will be held in Brisbane, Australia, in 2014 as part of the International Horticultural Congress (IHC2014).

Progress has been made in the last fifty years on the yield and quality of fruit and nuts crops. The emergence of consumer-centric market insights have contributed to the increasing research focus on improved flavor, texture and appearance and how quality improvements can be made in changes to growing systems, genetics, technologies, and harvest and post-harvest management.

This symposium addresses recent research on fruit and nuts that aims to (1) identify and improve fruit quality in terms of internal and external properties, (2) enhance the composition as it relates to nutritional value and human health, and (3) develop insights into consumer preferences and behavior to guide product specifications and production systems. Presentations will encompass breeding and commercialization of new cultivars as well as pre-harvest and post-harvest aspects of research on commercial fruit and nut crops with a specific focus on citrus, nuts, Mediterranean zone fruits, pome, stonefruit, vine and berry fruits. Academics, scientists, researchers, consultants, technologists, marketers and industry leaders are invited to participate.

Food quality has been defined as all those characteristics of a food (not just sensory characteristics) that lead a consumer to be satisfied with the product.

Oral and poster presentations are invited on the following themes:

Markets, consumers, and uses

  • Evolving markets – supermarkets and retailers
  • Consumer preferences for appearance, texture and flavor of fruits and nuts
  • Instrumental prediction of sensory characteristics (appearance, texture and flavor)
  • Consumer attitudes and behavior
  • Barriers to increasing consumption of fruits and nuts
  • Common and special uses
  • New and alternative uses

Composition for enhanced human health / wellness

  • Fruit composition / bioactives
  • Tree / fruit management for enhanced phytonutrients
  • Cultural practices (fertilizers, water and mechanization) affecting fruit and nut quality
  • The role of abiotic and biotic stresses on fruit and nut production and quality
  • Molecular basis and new frontiers of biotechnology of fruit and nut quality
  • Clinical studies

Postharvest storage and supply chain technologies

  • Sorting and grading technologies
  • Systems and packaging that maintain quality through the supply chain and into consumers’ homes
  • Processing technologies


Dr Damiano Avanzato is the current Chair of ISHS Section Nuts and Mediterranean Climate Fruits. He is a former governmental horticultural researcher and currently a freelance international consultant. As a scientist, he developed research projects on fruit propagation, orchard management and restoration of genetic resources. He has organized five international symposia on Walnut, Crop Wild Relatives, Almond, and Pistachio and has cooperated on the organization of other symposia on nuts in Turkey, Australia, China, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Armenia. As an international consultant, he has extensive experience in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating projects in the fruit and nut sectors.

Dr. Yair Erner is a plant physiologist, emeritus scientist at the Volcani Center, Institute of Plant Sciences, Israel. His research program focuses on alternate bearing, flowering and fruit quality. He cooperates with soil scientists on fertigation and reclaims water use, at partial wetting of root zone, for citrus. The importance of inflorescence types, especially the leafy inflorescence and source\sink relationship for fruit set was one of the major subjects. Since, fruit quality became a major factor on the market, protocols for manipulation of fruit size and internal quality have been established for commercial use in Israel and world-wide. Yair is currently chair of the ISHS citrus section.

Dr Roger Harker is a Principal Scientist at The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited and Science Group Leader for the Human Responses Group (Sensory and Consumer Science and Molecular Sensing Teams). Roger has been involved in research on fruit production and storage related to sensory characteristics and consumer responses. Roger has over 100 scientific and technical publications and his research has supported major changes in the incentives paid to growers to produce high quality produce, helped to set targets for fruit breeding programmes, and contributed to the release of new fruit cultivars.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Sara R Jaeger will be the keynote speaker on the topic of consumer attitudes to quality of fruit and nuts. Dr Jaeger is currently science leader of the Sensory and Consumer Science team at Plant & Food Research in New Zealand. She is also editor of the Journal Food Quality and Preference and Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Sara's area of expertise is in sensory and consumer science.

Dr. Bhimu Patil will present a keynote address on pre-harvest factors affecting quality & composition of fruit & nuts. Dr Patil is the Professor and Director of Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, Texas, USA. This interdisciplinary Center is part of Texas A&M University AgriLife Research and Extension. His research focus on isolation and characterization of health promoting compounds to provide ‘proof of concept’ of role of vegetables and fruits in our diet. Additionally, his research is focused on pre and postharvest effects on quality including flavor, taste and health promoting compounds. His published work includes more than 145 peer-reviewed articles, over 100 media articles and 4 edited books, 27 proceedings, 17 book chapters. He has received 19 national and international awards including induction as “Fellow” of the American Horticultural Sciences and American Chemical Society- Division of Ag and Food Chemistry. He strongly believe that in order to increase consumption, it is very critical develop, healthy tasty, flavorful, and quality fruits, vegetables and nuts. He has developed two multi-disciplinary and multi state first-of-its kind courses, “Science of Foods for Health” and “Phytochemicals in Fruits and Vegetables to Improve Human Health”, which are being offered at several universities.

Dr Carlos Crisosto will present a joint keynote presentation on Postharvest storage and supply chain technologies in relation to quality of fruit and nuts, together with Dr Bruce Lampinen. Dr Crisosto is a pomologist at the University of California, Davis, USA. His research and extension program covers the postharvest biology and technology of fruits, especially peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, table grapes, figs, kiwifruits, olives, pomegranates, and persimmons, as well as pistachios, almonds and walnuts. The goal of his research program is to develop a better understanding of the orchard factors and postharvest factors that control fruit flavour and shelf life and to develop technology to overcome fruit industry problems. He is applying genomic techniques to identify gene(s) responsible for fruit sensory attributes (both desirable and undesirable), and investigating physiological disorders such as chilling injury. He is also using sensory techniques, such as trained panels and “in store” consumer tests, to describe fruit flavour characteristics and losses during postharvest handling.

Dr Bruce Lampinen will present a joint keynote presentation on Postharvest storage and supply chain technologies in relation to quality of fruit and nuts, together with Dr Carlos Crisosto. Dr Lampinen is currently an associate specialist in Cooperative Extension at UC Davis in California, USA. His current research includes work on canopy management in high density orchards, the role of orchard canopy environment on potential for Salmonella survival in soil, effects of almond stockpiling on aflatoxin, effects of irrigation and nitrogen on spur longevity and productivity in almond, field evaluation of cultivars, influence of irrigation on Phytophthora incidence in young walnut trees, effects of irrigation on mould development on walnut, effects of irrigation on codling moth susceptibility of walnut, and alternatives to methyl bromide for nursery and orchard replant situations. Much of this work is being quantified by means of a recently developed automated mobile platform for measuring canopy photosynthetically active radiation interception by tree canopies.