Agriculture and Food Science


Overview of the Research Area

Agriculture

Plant Health and Biosecurity

Research in this area focuses on the economically important insects, pathogens and weeds and the ecology of the organisms and biological and chemical controls.

Our interests focus on non-chemical means of controlling pest organisms and the development of integrated pest and disease management systems. Our work is closely associated with agrihorticultural industries, both nationally (state departments of agriculture) and internationally. Our work includes pure research related to the biology, taxonomy (plant, fungal and insect) and ecology of pest organisms and beneficial species such as natural enemies and bees and applied research developing management strategies. We also undertake research into natural environments and the development of naturally-derived products as environmentally-friendly pesticides. The group has extensive international experience and has led projects in Indonesia, Viet Nam, China and Bhutan. Current research is mostly associated with citrus, olives and cotton. We have extensive facilities for the study of entomology and plant pathology, both in the laboratory and in the field.

Postharvest

Postharvest is an inter-disciplinary area fundamental aspects of produce biology and physiology, modifications to the postharvest environment to extend the storage life of produce, and aspects of the postharvest industry such as quality management and exporting.
Recent research in postharvest has focussed on the growth, maturation and physiology of fresh produce; the importance of managing temperature and the responses of fresh produce to changes in temperature; the role of ethylene in fruit ripening and senescence; and the practical issues of assessing harvest maturity.

Water, Environment and Sustainability

  • Groundwater modelling and management.
  • Peri-uban hydrology and sustainable food production in peri-urban landscapes
  • Irrigation management

Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

Crop Physiology and Biotechnology

Food Security

Currently Samsul Huda has two research projects on the food security funded by Qatar National Research Fund. Qatar has limited agricultural resources, so food security is a problem if the country cannot rely on assured food imports. Strategies to overcome this problem include land purchase and contract farming in more resource-rich countries including Australia, and in improved productivity of selected crops in Qatar including high tech greenhouse facilities. Both strategies require improved decision-making with respect to crop choice, agronomic and water management, and soil and natural resource management to maximise crop productivity and avoid soil degradation and desertification.

  • Improving Food Security in Qatar: Assessing Alternative Cropping Systems Feasibility and Productivity in Variable Climates, Soil and Marketing Environments
  • Safeguarding Food and Environment in Qatar (SAFE-Q)

Food Science

The main research focus includes, development of novel healthy foods, food processing and preservation, meat quality, eating behaviours and food habits, functional foods, food fortification and microencapsulation

Research links with Industry:

  • Sanitarium
  • Carob Australia
  • Lupin Nutrition Foods
  • Australian Natural Biotechnology
  • Department of Agriculture and Foods WA
  • Edith Cowan University
  • Food IQ
  • Qinghai Tsinghua Biotry Bio-Tech Co. Ltd (China)

Researchers

Prof Zhonghua Chen

Prof Zhonghua Chen
Research Expertise and Interest:
z.chen@westernsydney.edu.au

Assoc Prof Samsul Huda

Assoc Prof Paul Holford

A/Prof Paul Holford
Research Expertise and Interest: Paul’s research and teaching is of an applied nature that is closely engaged with agricultural and horticultural industries.  It is aimed at strengthening food security and national and international biosecurity through mitigating the impacts of pests and pathogens, increasing production, aiding economic development and providing safe food.  His work is interdisciplinary and has involved collaborations with both private and public partners and he has established close relationships with world-class partners.
p.holford@westernsydney.edu.au

Michelle Mak

Michelle Mak
Research Expertise and Interest: Sustainable agriculture, protected cropping, integrated pest management and crop management. Food production has big challenges ahead in order to feed the growing populations with less water, land and resources to share. At the same time our water, soil and environmental contaminants are increasing. This combined with pressure from globalisation impacts agricultural supply and demand, pricing and biosecurity. Our challenge is to find innovative solutions through rigorous research, improve science communication to stakeholders and see solutions implemented “on the ground”, where they are needed 
M.Mak@westernsydney.edu.au

Prof Vijay Jayasena

Prof Vijay Jayasena
Research Expertise and Interest: Development of novel healthy foods, functional foods, value adding to agricultural products, food industry by-products utilization, product development, development of Asian foods, fermentation, food quality evaluation, food processing and preservation, shelf life extension, plant protein isolation, grain processing, baking, technology and sensory evaluation
v.jayasena@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Rosalie Durham

Dr Rosalie Durham
Research Expertise and Interest: Food scientist with a wide range of interests in food processing, food quality and safety. Research projects include development of dairy processes incorporating membrane and chromatographic separations, development of sensor labels for fresh fruit, sustainable manufacturing and the recovery of process by-products as new ingredients, food microbiology, cereal processing and sensory evaluation.
R.Durham@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Christine Hutchison

Dr Christine Hutchison
Research Expertise and Interest: Meat quality with a particular focus on eating quality parameters of game meats, both farmed and wild harvested. Research has focused on the effect of farming or wild harvest practices on meat quality of common game meat species.
c.hutchison@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Jason Flesch

Dr Jason Flesch
Research Expertise and Interest:
J.Flesch@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Li Li

Dr Li Li
Research Expertise and Interest: diet-gut microbiome implications in health and chronic diseases; previous research focused on diet and gut microbiome relationships in adults with cystic fibrosis; implication of flavonoids and body composition in health and diseases; public health nutrition such as food security and food system
L.Li7@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Patrice Castignolles

Dr Qaiyum Parvez

Dr Qaiyum Parvez
Research Expertise and Interest:
Q.Parvez@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Richard Thomas

Dr Richard Thomas
Research Expertise and Interest:
rg.thomas@westernsydney.edu.au

Prof Priti Krishna

Prof Priti Krishna
Research Expertise and Interest:
P.Krishna@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Sunil Panchal

Dr Sunil Panchal
Research Expertise and Interest:
S.Panchal@westernsydney.edu.au

Distinguished Prof  David Tissue

Distinguished Prof David Tissue
Hawkesbury Institute For The Environment
Research Expertise and Interest:
D.Tissue@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Marion Gaborieau

Contact Person

For more information about the research area, please contact Zhonghua Chen via email z.chen@westernsydney.edu.au or phone (02) 45701934.