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Predicting the ripening behavior of mango fruit through an understanding of the progression of ripening events PhD


School of Water, Energy and Environment (SWEE)

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Dr M Alamar , Prof L A Terry , Dr S Kourmpetli No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This 3-year PhD project is fully funded by Cranfield University and Orchard House Foods Ltd. Funding covers tuition fees and stipend (£16,400 per annum). The aim of the proposed research is to predict mango ripening behaviour based on an understanding of the progression of ripening events in different cultivars. The knowledge gained will allow the food industry to adopt informed and targeted postharvest management practices to improve quality of ready-to-eat mangoes and reduce waste.

Mangoes (Magnifera indica L.) are the second most consumed tropical fruit in the UK, with imports consistently rising during the last five years. However, 10-15% of mangoes imported are lost before packaging. The primary causes of this are uneven ripening and chilling injury, which lead to loss of texture and flavour quality, and discolouration. These physiological disorders result in loss of marketability, significant food waste and economic losses in the supply chain and at consumer level.

Ripening is subject to high genetic control with much variation even between varieties. ‘Kent’ and ‘Keitt’ mangoes, which cover the UK year-round supply, seem to have different ripening patterns: from outside in, and from inside out, respectively. This makes the ripening stage of ‘Keitt’ mangoes difficult to predict, and hinders the final quality of fresh-cut produce, mainly because ripening assessment is done based on external colour on a subset of samples per batch.

The aim of the proposed research is to predict mango ripening based on an understanding of the progression of ripening events in different cultivars. This will be achieved by:


1) Investigating the chemical and genetic differences underlying the distinct ripening patterns of ‘Kent’ and ‘Keitt’ cultivars, and

2) Evaluating the potential use of non-destructive techniques to predict ripening through the supply chain.

The knowledge gained will allow the food industry to adopt informed and targeted postharvest management practices to improve quality of ready-to-eat mangoes and reduce waste.

The student will be trained to use a wide range of modern biological and chemical techniques related to crop phenotyping, plant physiology and biochemistry, molecular biology and chemometrics, at Cranfield University (CU), and will have access to modules from Agrifood MSc courses: ‘Postharvest Technology’; ‘Quality of Food and Beverages’; ‘Machine Learning for Metabolomics’.

The student will have a 3 months industrial placement at Orchard House Foods Ltd, and will receive training on H&S and Food Safety Management, HACCP, Personal Development, and Management & Leadership. The student will be directly engaged with the business processes and systems: being embedded with the fruit procurement team, integrated with ripening and processing (factory) teams, retailers, and joining customer visits and audits.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on Wednesday 22nd July, 2020.


Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit students with a degree in biology, chemistry, nutrition, agriculture, food science or a closely related science. The project has a data-modelling component so students with good statistical, chemometrics and/or bioinformatics skills are encouraged to apply. Moreover, applications from students with a background working in fresh produce supply chains, and interested in sustainability are encouraged.

How to apply

For further information please contact:
Name: M.Carmen Alamar
Email: [Email Address Removed]
T: (0) 1234 750111

If you are eligible to apply for the PhD, please complete the online PhD application form stating the reference No. SWEE0112



Funding Notes

Sponsored by Cranfield University and Orchard House Foods Ltd., this studentship will provide a bursary of £16,400 per annum (tax free), plus fees* for three years.

*To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national.


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