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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Citrus, Subtropical, And Other Products Research Unit


The mission of the Citrus & Subtropical Products Research Unit is (1) improve flavor, textural and nutritional quality while extending shelf life and microbial stability of subtropical and tropical fruit and fruit products; (2) use chemical and other analytical techniques to obtain fundamental information about mechanisms by which internal compositional profiles of these commodities are changed through genetics, harvest maturity, storage or processing and determine effects of such changes on available nutrients and other quality factors; (3) develop new mechanisms, or modify established mechanisms for converting commodities into more desirable products; (4) develop new approaches for the conversion of polysaccharides in fruit processing wastes to value-added products; and (5) isolate from citrus byproducts, phenols with biological activities targeted towards a number of pharmacological endpoints.


The Citrus & Subtropical Products Unit conducts basic and applied research on fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables and develops by-products from citrus processing waste.  Research results are used by the fresh and processed fruit and vegetable industries for quality and shelf life improvement for fresh produce their products and in development of new products from citrus processing waste.

  • Research is roughly 70% on citrus, but mangoes, papayas, carambolas, lychees and other tropical fruits are also investigated as well as Florida-grown small fruit.
  • Fundamental work on citrus pectin structure is related to function to develop industrial and food-related pectin products.
  • A process has been developed and is undergoing optimization to ferment citrus peel to fuel ethanol.
  • Citrus peel is analyzed for compounds with biological activity of benefit to human health or that demonstrate antimicrobial activity.
  • Pre- and postharvest research is done for postharvest benefit in terms of quality, shelf life and nutrition, including development and testing of sanitizers and edible coatings.
  • Flavor chemistry and sensory evaluation are conducted and the data correlated to identify compounds that impact flavor quality.
  • Effect of genetics, harvest maturity, postharvest handling and disease on fruit or juice flavor is investigated.


Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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