St. John 516A
3190 Maile Way, #102
Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: (808) 956-7369

Fax: (808) 956-3894


Robert E. Paull



Plant Physiology and the Postharvest Handling and Storage of Tropical Fruit, Vegetables and Ornamentals


B.S., University of Sydney, 1966 - Agronomy
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1975 - Plant Physiology

Courses Taught:

Research Interests:

Preharvest and postharvest factors impacting postharvest quality, handling and storage of tropical fruits, vegetables and ornamentals.

<p> My research program's focus is the adaptation and application of newer technology to the improvement of postharvest handling in a integrated and systematic way. This research has led to improvement in production practices, and the postharvest handling and marketing of fresh tropical commodities. All the research is done in conjunction and with the support of local industries and individual growers, shippers and marketers.</p> <p> Current research is focused on understanding the control of gene expression during fruit development and ripening. We are particularly interested in the evolution of fleshy fruits and fruit ripening that arose independently numerous times during angiosperm evolution.</p> <p> We were involved with an international team working on completing the pineapple genome and looking at gene expression during fruit development and flower induction. Recent papers have dealt with C4 metabolism and pineapple domestication. Pineapple unlike most other plants can be induce to flower by treatment with ethylene, we are evaluating gene expression following ethylene treatment to draw a conclusions as to how this induction mechanism.</p> <p> Papaya presents some unique physiological changes at the quarter-ripe stage and shows increased sensitivity to stresses and chemical treatments. The changes in papaya gene expression, especially transcription factors has occurred provide a possible mechanism for this sensitivity.</p> <p> Another interest is in taro acridity that is thought to be due to the sharp crystals present in all tissue. Acridity causes itchiness if taro is eaten without cooking. Our research suggests that it is due to proteins associated with the crystals and we attempting to develop a rapid assay that can be used in plant breeding</p>

Selected Publications:

  • Ketsa, S., Wisutiamonkul, A., Palapol, Y. and Paull, R.E. (2019). The Durian: Botany, Horticulture and Utilization. Horticulture Reviews 47, 125-211.
  • Paull, R.E. and Chen, N. J. (2019) Pineapple. In. Freitas, S. T., and Pareek, S. (Eds) Postharvest physiology disorders of fruits and vegetables. Pp. 513-527. Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
  • Oliveira, J. G., Morales, L. M. M., Silva, W. B., Gomes Filho, A and R. E. Paull (2019) Papaya. In. Freitas, S. T., and Pareek, S. (Eds) Postharvest physiology disorders of fruits and vegetables. Pp. 467-493. Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.
  • Uthairatanakij, Apiradee, Pongphen Jitareerat and Robert E. Paull. 2018. Pp 339 - 376. In. Galán Saúco, V. and Ping, L. (eds.), Achieving sustainable cultivation of mangoes, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
  • Robert E. Paull and Ching-Cheng Chen, 2018. Postharvest Physiology, Handling, and Storage of Pineapple. In Garth M. Sanewski, Duane P. Bartholomew and Robert E. Paull, (Editors), The Pineapple 2nd Edition Botany, Production and Uses. 336 pages, CABI, United Kingdom
  • Wong, K., Motomura, S. and Paull, R.E. (2018). Postharvest Handling and Food Safety – Layers of Protection. Food Safety and Technology Series. FST-66.
  • Love, K., Gasik, L. and Paull, R.E. (2019). Durian. University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Fruit, Nut, and Beverage Crops, F_N-53.
  • Robert E. Paull, Nancy Jung Chen, Ray Ming, Ching Man Wai, Neil Shirley, Julian Schwerdt and Vincent Bulone. 2016. Carbon Flux and Carbohydrate Gene Families in Pineapple. Tropical Plant Biology 9, 200-213.
  • Ken Love, Robert E. Paull, Alyssa Cho and Andrea Kawabata. 2017. Tropical Fruit Tree Propagation Guide. University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Fruit, Nut, and Beverage Crops March 2017, F_N
  • Chen, L.-Y., R. VanBuren, M. Paris, H. Zhou, X. Zhang, C. M. Wai, H. Yan, S. Chen, M. Alonge, S. Ramakrishnan, Z. Liao, J. Liu, J. Lin, J. Yue, M. Fatima, Z. Lin, J. Zhang, L. Huang, H. Wang, T.-Y. Hwa, S.-M. Kao, J. Y. Choi, A. Sharma, J. Song, L. Wang, W. C. Yim, J. C. Cushman, R. E. Paull, T. Matsumoto, Y. Qin, Q. Wu, J. Wang, Q. Yu, J. Wu, S. Zhang, P. Boches, C.-W. Tung, M.-L. Wang, G. Coppens d’Eeckenbrugge, G. M. Sanewski, M. D. Purugganan, M. C. Schatz, J. L. Bennetzen, C. Lexer and R. Ming (2019). "The bracteatus pineapple genome and domestication of clonally propagated crops." Nature Genetics DOI 10.1038/s41588-019-0506-8
  • List of publications (PDF)