St. John 516A
3190 Maile Way, #102
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.
  • Duarte, O and R. E. Paull. 2015. Exotic Fruits and Nuts of the New World. CAB International, Wallingford, England. 342 pp.
  • Lobo, M. G. and R. E. Paull. 2017. Handbook of Pineapple Technology. Production, postharvest science, processing and nutrition. Wiley Blackwell, West Sussex, United Kingdom. 263 pp.
  • 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
  • Saovalak Phetsirikoon, Robert E. Paull, Nancy Chen, Saichol Ketsa and Wouter G. van Doorn. 2015. Increased hydrolase gene expression and hydrolase activity in the abscission zone involved in chilling-induced abscission of Dendrobium flowers. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 117: 217-229
  • 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
  • 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
  • Robert VanBuren, Margot Paris, Hongye Zhou, Jennifer Wai, Jisen Zhang, Lixian Huang, Hao Wang, Teh-Yang Hwa, Shu-Min Kao, Jae Young Choi, Zhenyang Liao, Zhicong Lin, Anupma Sharma, Ratnesh Singh, Jian Song, Lulu Wang, Won C. Yim, John C. Cushman, Robert Paull, Tracie Matsumoto, Yuan Qin, Qingsong Wu, Jianping Wang, Qingyi Yu, Jun Wu, Shaoling Zhang, Peter Boches, Chih-Wei Tung, Geo Coppens d'Eeckenbrugge, Garth M. Sanewski, Michael D. Purugganan, Jeffrey L. Bennetzen, Christian Lexer, Ray Ming. 2018. Sexual recombination and selection during domestication of clonally propagated pineapple
  • List of publications (PDF)