St. John 516A

Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: (808) 956-7369

Fax: (808) 956-3894


Robert E. Paull

Professor/Researcher - Chair 


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


St. Gregory High School, Australia, 1962
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.

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. All the research is done in conjunction and with the support of local industies and individual growers, shippers and marketers.

Current research is focused on the application of newer biotechnologies to understand 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. Directly applicable research includes the impact of preharvest fertilization on pineapple fruit acidity and flesh translucency. We are also involved with an international team working on completing the pineapple genome and looking at gene expression during fruit development. Papaya present some unique physiological changes at the quarter ripe stage and shows increased sensitivity to stresses and chemical treatments. We are also collaborating with an international team looking at gene expression profiles during papaya ripening. 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 inplant breeding,

Selected Publications:

  • Ming R, VanBuren R, Wai CM, Tang H, Schatz MC, Bowers JE, Lyons E, Wang M-L, Chen J, Biggers E, Zhang J, Huang L, Zhang L, Miao W, Zhang J, Ye Z, Miao C, Lin Z, Wang H, Zhou H, Yim WC, Priest HD, Zheng C, Woodhouse M, Edger PP, Guyot R, Guo H-B, Guo H, Zheng G, Singh R, Sharma A, Min X, Zheng Y, Lee H, Gurtowski J, Sedlazeck FJ, Harkess A, McKain MR, Liao Z, Fang J, Liu J, Zhang X, Zhang Q, Hu W, Qin Y, Wang K, Chen L-Y, Shirley N, Lin Y-R, Liu L-Y, Hernandez AG, Wright CL, Bulone V, Tuskan GA, Heath K, Zee F, Moore PH, Sunkar R, Leebens-Mack JH, Mockler T, Bennetzen JL, Freeling M, Sankoff D, Paterson AH, Zhu X, Yang X, Smith JAC, Cushman JC, Paull RE, Yu Q (2015) The pineapple genome and the evolution of CAM photosynthesis. Nature Genetics 45, 1435 - 1442.
  • Sarah L. Johnston, Roneel Prakash, Nancy J. Chen, Monto H. Kumagai, Helen M. Turano, Janine M. Cooney, Ross G. Atkinson, Robert E. Paull, Roshan Cheetamun, Antony Bacic, David A. Brummell, Roswitha Schröder. 2013. An enzyme activity capable of transglycosylation of heteroxylan polysaccharides is present in plant primary cell walls. Planta 237: 173 - 187
  • Robert E. Paull, Andrew Carroll & Nancy Jung Chen. 2013. Lotus Cell Walls and the Genes Involved in its Synthesis and Modification. Tropical Plant Biology 6: 152 - 160.
  • Duarte, O and R. E. Paull. 2015. Exotic Fruits and Nuts of the New World. CAB International, Wallingford, England. 342 pp.
  • Lili Zhou, Robert E. Paull, and Nancy Jung Chen. 2014. Papaya: Postharvest Quality-Maintenance Guidelines. University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Fruit, Nut, and Beverage Crops May 2014 F_N-34.
  • Paull, R. E. and Duarte, O. 2012. Tropical Fruit - Volume II. 384 pp. CAB International, Wallingford, England
  • Wu J, Wang Z, Shi Z, Zhang S, Ming R, Zhu S, Khan MA, Tao S, Korban SS, Wang H, Chen NJ, Nishio T, Xu X, Cong L, Qi K, Huang X, Wang Y, Zhao X, Wu J, Deng C, Gou C, Zhou W, Yin H, Qin G, Sha Y, Tao Y, Chen H, Yang Y, Song Y, Zhan D, Wang J, Li L, Dai M, Gu C, Wang Y, Shi D, Wang X, Zhang H, Zeng L, Zheng D, Wang C, Chen M, Wang G, Xie L, Sovero V, Sha S, Huang W, Zhang S, Zhang M, Sun J, Xu L, Li Y, Liu X, Li Q, Shen J, Wang J, Paull RE, Bennetzen JL, Wang J, Zhang S (2012). The genome of pear (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd.). Genome Research 23: 396-408
  • Radovich, Theodore J.K., Archana Pant, Ian Gurr, Ngyuen V. Hue, Jari Sugano, Brent Sipes, Norman Arancon, Clyde Tamaru, Bradley K. Fox, Kent D. Kobayashi, and Robert Paull. 2012. Innovative Use of Locally Produced Inputs to Improve Plant Growth, Crop Quality, and Grower Profitability in Hawai’i. HortTechnology 22: 738-742.
  • J. Jesus Iniestra-Gonzaleza, Gisela Jareth Lino-Lopezb, Robert E. Paull, Ana Paulina Barba de la Rosad, N. Alejandra Mancilla-Margallie, J. Adriana Saunudo-Barajasf, Vrani Ibarra-Junqueraa, Nancy J. Chen, Miguel Angel Hernandez-Velascob,1, Juan Alberto Osuna-Castro. 2013. Papaya endoxylanase biochemical characterization and isoforms expressed during fruit ripening. Postharvest Biology and Technology 81: 13 - 22
  • Robert E. Paull and Ching Cheng Chen. 2014. Pineapple: Postharvest Quality-Maintenance Guidelines. University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Fruit, Nut, and Beverage Crops May 2014 F_N-32.
  • List of publications (PDF)