U.S.-Thai Scientists Cooperate in Tropical Fruit
Research By Alfredo Flores October 15, 2007
A unique collaboration between Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Winter Haven, Fla., and
counterparts at Chiang Mai University (CMU) and
Siam University in Thailand aims at
developing coatings and surface treatments to maintain the red color of lychee
fruit and protect fresh-cut mango. The market for these and other tropical
fruits is rapidly growing as consumers discover their unique tastes and
The U.S. researchers include horticulturist
Baldwin, plant physiologist
Plotto and microbiologist
Narcisoall at the ARS U.S. Citrus and Subtropical Products Research
in Winter Haven. Exchanges between the U.S. and Thai scientists have been under
way for about five years.
Most of the collaborative work has been done with Nithiya
Rattanapanone, with the CMU faculty of agro-industry, who visited the USCSPL in
2003. The following year, Baldwin visited CMU to give a workshop on edible
coatings for fruits and vegetables, and to work on developing coatings for cut
In 2005, Usawadee Chanasut, a professor at CMUs Postharvest
Technology Institute, arrived at the USCSPL to work with ARS chemist
Manthey to determine the antioxidant potential of Thai eggplant. Chanasut
is now finishing that study in Thailand.
Rattanapanone returned to the USCSPL in 2005-2006, to compare results
from experiments there and in Thailand on edible coatings and other surface
treatments for reducing browning of lychee peel. Several of
Rattanapanones graduate students have also spent time at Winter Haven
working on their doctoral theses research.
This ongoing collaboration has been mutually beneficial, providing,
among other things, the opportunity for USCSPL and CMU scientists to research
postharvest treatments for various tropical and subtropical commodities.
Kanjana Mahattanatawee, one of USCSPLs former Thai postdocs,
studied tropical fruit flavor and phenolic compounds while at Winter Haven and
is continuing this research at Siam University, where she has since joined the
faculty. She plans to return to Winter Haven soon for further collaborative
about the research in the October 2007 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.