Helping Northwest tree fruit growers and packers bring their best produce to consumers more profitably and sustainably, alumna Carolina Torres
is the university’s first Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Postharvest Systems. Joining WSU in February 2019, Torres’ past work as a student and researcher included an exploration of how pre-harvest factors affect fruit quality after harvest, using phenomics, metabolomics, and genomics tools.
The Tree Fruit Endowment has allowed her to:
- Remodel and establish the new postharvest laboratory at the Wenatchee TFREC and build her research team.
- Research biomarkers in pears to predict superficial scald, an important storage disorder.
- Engage in collaborative research with USDA-ARS postharvest scientists, as well as WSU colleagues focused on preharvest fruit production. Topics covered in new WTFRC grants include non-destructive methods to predict sun-related apple disorders during cold storage, reduction of scald in pears, and optimized storage methods for organic apples.
- Unravel the effect of climate on fruit quality and maturation, pre- and postharvest, as well as physiological disorders during postharvest, along with the final outcome for the consumer.
- Support the WSU Extension Team in developing improved varieties for Washington growers, and survey partners across the industry to establish future lines of research.