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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » People » Xiuxiu Sun

Xiuxiu Sun

Research Food Technologist

Contact Information


Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center
64 Nowelo St.
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 
Ph: (808) 959-4307
Fx: (808) 959-5470 

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via ARIS system

via Google scholar


Ph.D., Nutrition and Food Science, Wayne State University, 2014

M.E., Food Science, Jilin University, 2008

B.E., Food Science and Engineering, Jilin University, 2006 

Academic Positions

2021 – present, Research Food Technologist, USDA-ARS, U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii

2017 – 2021, Research Associate, USDA-ARS, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, Florida

2014 – 2016, Research Associate, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Fort Pierce, Florida

Research Accomplishments


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Active packaging to reduce decay and prolong fruit shelf-life

Designed and conducted research to mitigate the risk of microorganisms and improve food quality. Developed antimicrobial microencapsulation system with essential oils (e.g. carvacrol, thymol, bergamot oil) imbedded in a pectin and sodium alginate matrix. The newly developed microencapsulation phytosanitary system extensively improved blueberry quality and safety by reducing microbial populations, weight loss and softening, while improving taste.

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 abs plot2Worked with Worrell Water Technologies to develop a modified atmosphere packaging system using novel controlled-release chlorine dioxide powder in a newly designed perforated packaging system for fresh and fresh-cut fruit (strawberry, blueberry, cherry tomato, citrus, and fresh-cut honeydew) storage. The novel chlorine dioxide phytosanitary system extended shelf life of tomatoes up to a week by reducing decay rate and weight loss. The chlorine dioxide-treated tomatoes maintained firmness and taste which deteriorated in untreated fruit. The chlorine dioxide treatment reduced surface microbial populations, including those of E. coli, Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (causative agent of citrus canker), and the economically important citrus post-harvest spoilage pathogen P. digitaum. It also reduced stem-end rot incidence on grapefruit. 


abs plot2Developed antimicrobial chitosan/gallic acid films and determined the antimicrobial, engineering properties and microstructure of these films. Investigated the antimicrobial and mechanical properties of chitosan films incorporated with various concentrations of the complex of β-cyclodextrin and essential oils (β-CD/EO). Developed an active packaging system using chitosan-essential oil edible coatings to improve microbiological safety and quality of food. The newly developed films could be used as food packaging material due to their excellent structural, mechanical, and antimicrobial properties. The chitosan coatings improved antimicrobial activity against E. coli and Penicillium digitatum, and maintained fruit firmness during storage.


abs plot2Examined the properties of natural colorants and their application in wax coatings for post-harvest citrus fruit, and the suitability of five oil-soluble natural colorants on citrus fruit peel color were compared. The developed wax application showed that carnauba coating containing paprika oleoresin enhanced fruit appearance and extended shelf-life, which was adopted for commercial use by DECCO US Post-Harvest, Inc.


abs plot2Value-added products development to enhance marketability

Conducted pioneering research on the development of low-sugar functional fruit drinks under a CRADA, focusing on devising advanced manufacturing technologies for flavor optimization using GC-MS and HPLC. Investigated the effect of cultivar and processing methods on the physical, chemical, nutritional, and sensory properties of low-sugar winter melon juice. Two methods were developed, which significantly improved the health benefit and taste of winter melon drinks, by increasing nutritional components, reducing sugar content, and improving taste by reducing bitterness.


 Antimicrobial compound extractionabs plot2

Separated and characterized bioactive components in marine sponges and graviola fruit using HPLC, columns, NMR, EI-MS etc. Evaluated the antimicrobial and antiproliferative activity of these compounds. The newly extracted compound crambescidin 800 expressed specific inhibitory activity on A. baumannii, K. pneumoniae, and P. aeruginosa.


Service, Leadership and Participation in Professional Activities:


Honors, Awards, Achievements and Recognition: