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Plum research rewards scholar

Media release


19 June 2008

Curtin University of Technology research scholar, Sukhvinder Pal (SP) Singh, competed against many other postgraduate researchers to present his findings on plums at the 2008 National and Trans-Tasman Horticultural Science Conference in Queensland in July.

A doctoral student at Curtin’s Horticultural Research Laboratory, SP is excited to be the recipient of the highly competitive biannual student travel award offered to an outstanding postgraduate student from Australia in recognition of excellence in research and professional achievements.

According to SP’s supervisor, Associate Professor Zora Singh, winning such a competitive travel grant is testimony to the nationally and internationally recognised postgraduate horticulture program at Curtin.

“The postgraduate horticultural program was initiated and developed to provide students with an avenue to develop a research project that tackles industry issues.  SP’s project has significant implications for the plum industry in Western Australia,” Associate Professor Singh said.

SP will present the findings from his recent joint research paper entitled Major flavour components, sugars and organic acids of Japanese plums as impacted by various factors.

He explained how his research project, which is focused on postharvest oxidative stress in plum fruit, is important to the industry.

“Rising competition in the international market poses a great challenge to Western Australia’s plum industry, and the consumer is looking for more flavour-rich fruit at competitive prices,” SP said.

“About 60 per cent of WA’s plum production is exported to various countries such as China, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the UK.  These markets are being challenged by countries with cheap labour, allowing them to produce plums with lower input.

“Our objective is to fulfil consumer expectations in terms of flavour and quality whilst also addressing and challenging storage criteria.

“This award gives me a great opportunity to showcase my research at Australia and New Zealand’s national horticultural conference.”

Associate Professor Zora Singh is SP’s supervisor and credits his student with addressing an industry problem with a competitive work ethic and thorough research skills.

“The research project was challenging, because it has broad implications for the WA plum industry.  SP has successfully addressed problems with the storage of Japanese plum varieties,” Associate Professor Singh said.

“I believe this research will have far-reaching outcomes for the Australian plum industry and its level of competitiveness in export markets.”

SP is studying at Curtin’s Muresk Institute as an international student with an Endeavour International Postgraduate scholarship and Curtin University Postgraduate Scholarship. He is ambitious to develop his career in research and development in post-harvest horticultural science.

“I hope my PhD will guide me into a career involving research and teaching,” SP said.

Contact:  Lisa Mayer, PR Coordinator, Curtin, 08 9266 1930, 0401 103 755

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Modified: 19 June 2008