Category Archives: Coming Events

Human health science to support new functional foods from fruit

Dr Roger Hurst
Principal Scientist, Plant & Food Research

Date: 6.00pm Tuesday 8 August 2017
Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, E.I.T. Gloucester Street, Taradale
Admission:   Gold coin donation

To secure a premium market position for a food, one of the most popular strategies is to claim an intrinsic human health-promoting ability.

Fruits in general have an inherent natural ‘health halo’, with some fruit often classed as ‘superfruits’ and/or ‘functional foods’, because they are rich sources of different bioactive substances that can provide human health benefits beyond just their nutritional content.

A lot of marketing emphasis has been placed on antioxidant activity of fruit compounds for health, but unfortunately this mode of action is not well supported by science. In recent years, other mechanisms are being revealed that can explain why fruits and their compounds are healthy.

Dr Roger Hurst leads a team of researchers focused upon providing health science evidence to support the development of new fruit food products. He will present on the team’s strategic targets, their multi-pronged approach to building the science evidence from chemistry, cell screening to human clinical studies, and will give insights into key data from various fruits, that is leading to the creation of new and improved fruit-derived functional food opportunities in NZ and Asia.

Dr Hurst has a biomedical health background through a career at the University of Toronto, Canada; the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK; and the Institute of Neurology, London, UK. Since joining Plant & Food Research (2007) he has developed an interest in phytochemical compounds and their role in modulating oxidative stress, inflammation, and immunity to aid tissue recovery and repair.

Pest-free pipfruit

5:30pm Wed 19 July 2017
Havelock North Function Centre 30 Te Mata Road, Havelock North

Dr Jim Walker, Scientist in the Pipfruit & Winegrape Entomology team at Plant & Food Research

Entry by gold coin donation

Book here

The past, present and future of integrated pest management in New Zealand fruit cropsPests and subsequently, the use of pesticide to deal with pests, has long been a problem for the New Zealand Pip Fruit industry, especially when it sought to gain access into new, high-value export markets. However, since the mid 1990s, the work carried out by Dr Jim Walker and his team has contributed to more than a 90 per cent reduction in insecticide use (kg/ha) by local apple growers. This includes the introduction of new natural enemies through to the development of selective pest management and use of semio-chemicals (pheromones) to support greater use of biological control in apple orchards. The development and implementation of these innovative pest control tactics are now central to today’s pest management systems. Dr Jim Walker, entomologist and Principal Scientist with Plant and Food Research, talks about this research as well as the future sustainability and biosecurity threats facing the apple industry.

About the speaker:

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Jim Walker leads a team of researchers focused on developing innovative tools and techniques for managing pests affecting the New Zealand horticultural industry. During his 30 year career, he has been involved in the development and introduction of the Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) programme in the New Zealand pipfruit sector. The IFP programme has resulted in the sector adopting pest monitoring, pest prediction models and alternative control methods, enabling apple growers to substantially reduce their use of pesticides. More recently Dr Walker has been involved with development of the sector’s ‘Apple Futures’ programme, focused on meeting the demand from consumers for high quality, residue-free fruit. He has also provided crucial guidance for the application of IFP to other sectors including wine grapes, summerfruit, citrus and onions.