Postharvest Biology and Physiology CE Specialist Position Description: Postharvest CE specialist will focus on harvested horticultural products. As much as 35% of the fruits and vegetables produced in the United States are never consumed due to deterioration after harvest, greatly reducing the sustainability of our agricultural systems. The position will model produce response to environmental conditions and subsequent shelf life and develop improved handling strategies for produce. These strategies are critical to the continued economic viability of California’s produce industry. The Specialist is expected to play an active role in the Postharvest Technology Center, based on an ANR Workgroup, which supports Farm Advisors and their clientele throughout the State on issues related to postharvest handling and processing. The individual will collaborate with Advisors and AES faculty in his/her research and outreach program. A candidate for this position is expected to have a PhD in Horticulture, Food Science, Biology, or related fields, with research experience in Postharvest Biology and Technology. Justification: The UC Postharvest Technology Center is recognized around the world for its expertise in the field of postharvest. Demand for research and education in postharvest physiology is very high and growing. Our courses are filled each year, the website visits are extensive, and requests for research and specialized programs are beyond current personnel capability to fill. To sustain our current programs, we need additional CE Specialists to contribute their expertise and time. Postharvest CE Specialists work very closely with commodity boards to address postharvest issues related to specific commodities. 1. Enhancing human health and reducing obesity: Consumption of vegetables and fruit are clearly linked to human health and is an important factor in reducing obesity and diabetes. Inferior flavor quality and low convenience of fruits and vegetables can reduce consumption. Applied research and extension in postharvest handling of fruits and vegetables will enhance the quality and availability of produce for consumers, thereby enhancing consumption. 2. Sustainable practices: As much as 30% of the fruits and vegetables produced in California are never consumed because of waste after harvest. These losses can be greatly reduced by improved postharvest handling practices, thereby preventing the waste of inputs in water, fertilizer, seed, and labor for producing these crops and reducing chemical inputs into the environment. A very small percentage (<5%) of the resources available for research and extension focus on product handling after harvest; yet significant benefits to sustainability and enhanced consumption of healthy food can be achieved with this focus. Extension: The CE specialist will become a key member of the Postharvest Technology Center, contributing to annual extension programs offered by the center, including Postharvest Biology and Technology of Horticultural Crops, Fresh Cut Workshop, and the Ripening and Ethylene Management Workshop. Advisors are invited to attend these training activities for free. Clientele will include Advisors, Grower/Shippers, Retailers, Foodservice Companies, and Consumers. Research: The Specialist will address the applied research needs of the produce industry in California, with emphasis on vegetable products. Research activities will include improved handling strategies to reduce losses and enhance product quality, modeling product response to postharvest conditions, developing value-added products, and evaluation of new germplasm for postharvest performance, sensory quality and consumer acceptance. ANR continuum: There is a core group of AES faculty and CE Specialists at UC Davis within the Departments of Plant Sciences, Food Science & Technology, Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Agricultural and Resource Economics as well as two colleagues at UC Riverside whose research and outreach activities are related to postharvest biology and technology. Due to 3 recent retirements over the past 3 years, the Center has lost key expertise in postharvest biology and physiology that would be covered by the Postharvest Biology and Physiology Specialist and all expertise in engineering that would be covered by the Postharvest Systems Engineering Specialist (requested by Biological and Agricultural Engineering Dept.). There are no county advisors who are assigned primarily to work on postharvest issues; however many Advisors conduct applied research related to postharvest in consultation or collaboration with CE Specialists. All Advisors working with fruits, vegetables and ornamentals have clientele who have needs in postharvest handling, and depend on the expertise of the CE Specialists and AES faculty at UC Davis and UCR. A core group of CE Specialists with a range of expertise within the postharvest field is needed to maintain the viability of the internationally recognized Postharvest Technology Center and the availability of postharvest knowledge. Support: The Department of Plant Sciences will provide travel funds, office and laboratory space, full access and use of the Wickson Hall and Mann Laboratory postharvest facilities, and complete human resource and business office. Internet, phone, desktop support, website, fileserver, cyber security, and email will be provided. Other support: The Postharvest Technology Center will provide logistical and administrative support, short course offerings, publication sales, and a web site with millions of hits per year. Research funding will come from produce packing and marketing companies, government agencies, and commodity boards. The produce industry has been very supportive of research in postharvest biology and technology. In addition, USDA NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative is an excellent source of support. Service companies related to postharvest handling are often interested to partner on research or support research projects. The Postharvest Workgroup supports this position as a high priority. Location: The Specialist will be located at UC Davis and will become an integral member of the Postharvest Technology Center, but will collaborate with Advisers throughout the state and with AES faculty.