Professor of Horticultural Sciences
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Jeffrey Brecht’s research focuses on the role of harvesting, handling and storage practices on the physiology, safety and quality of horticultural crops. At a more basic level, Brecht seeks to understand the physiological and metabolic processes related to the development, maturation and death of horticultural crops.
Brecht’s recent research is looking at how physical treatments, such as brief exposure to heat, might be used as alternatives to chemical and other treatments to slow ripening and make crops more tolerant to chilling stress and decay.
“We have developed brief hot-water treatments that confer remarkable chilling tolerance on tomato and mango fruit,” Brecht says.
Brecht’s next step is to extend these results to other fresh-cut vegetables.
“We are interested in the physiology of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in response to wounding and temperature changes during handling,” Brecht says. “This project is focused on how fresh-cut preparation and handling affects the physiology, biochemistry and quality of fresh-cut vegetables and fruits.”
Brecht has published more than 80 papers in the last five years, many in the most prestigious journals of his field, and garnered more than $2 million in research funding. He helped to create a multi-state research project in fresh-cut vegetables and fruits and serves on numerous graduate committees.