Breadcrumbs

Fieldays focus on flavourful iconic fruit

30 May 2017

D Le Lievre
Master of Science (Research) student Danielle Le Lievre

Danielle Le Lievre has had a fruitful two years since being awarded the New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship and the Zespri Innovation Fellowship.

The Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn scholarship, established in 2012, is awarded to graduate students of the University of Waikato whose research is seen to have a meaningful outcome for the agricultural industry. What better outcome than improved flavour for our country’s national fruit and, subsequently, the quintessential pavlova?

Danielle has just handed in her Master’s thesis where her research looked at the development of flavour in kiwifruit. It’s important research for New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry currently ranked number one in the world, with $1.9 billion worth of kiwifruit sales each year.

"There is a real focus on quality of fruit in the industry,” says Danielle’s supervisor, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Mike Clearwater. “The costs to produce kiwifruit are relatively high, which means to maximise returns and ensure profitability, kiwifruit must be marketed as a premium product. Taste is a very important attribute for growers who want to maintain that quality standard to meet the premium product demand."

When Psa, a bacterial strain of kiwifruit vine canker, struck New Zealand seven years ago, it was it was an uncertain time for growers. With affected orchards wilting and dying, Psa threatened to destroy the country’s kiwifruit industry. But the industry fought back. A new Psa-resistant variety of kiwifruit called G3 was introduced, effectively reversing the impact of the disease.

Danielle’s project was part of a larger collaboration between the University, Plant & Food Research and Zespri. The research looks at how sugars, acids and starch are made as the G3 kiwifruit grows, providing a better understanding of how to grow the best tasting fruit. Great news for growers and an industry keen to keep their competitive export edge.

Crediting collaborations with Zespri for support and funding, and Plant & Food Research for providing essential help and expertise, Danielle says it was really encouraging to know the Fieldays Society saw her research as being important for New Zealand’s agricultural industry. “The support has been invaluable.”

Check out more kiwifruit research collaborations at the University of Waikato and Zespri stands at the New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays, Mystery Creek, Hamilton. The event runs from 14 – 17 June.


Related stories

te tohu paetahi programme

Pioneering Te Tohu Paetahi Māori language programme celebrates 30 years for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

The University of Waikato’s pioneering total immersion Māori language programme, Te Tohu Paetahi, is celebrating…

NMR Rototuna

New $1.5 million spectrometer boosts research capacity

A recent arrival at the University of Waikato will play a vital research role in…

Professor Bruce Clarkson

Waikato researchers receive massive boost for environmental projects

Researchers from the University of Waikato will now be able to advance projects to model…

Campaign image 2

World’s first Bachelor of Climate Change launched at University of Waikato

The world’s first Bachelor of Climate Change degree has been launched by the University of…

 MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

Fish detector dogs helping to sniff out pest fish in Waikato and Bay of Plenty lakes

There’s some fishy business going on in the Schools of Science and Psychology at the…

nicc-moeono

Pacific alumnus at home with engineering

Fogamoni Nicc Moeono finished his high school years in Samoa with a “blurred image” of…

Hannah Robinson and Ashlee Cooper, two of the six Sparling Travel Award recipients

Six University of Waikato Environmental Science students receive Sparling Travel Award

Six masters and doctoral students have been given the opportunity to travel throughout New Zealand…

Group photo

Inspiring more Māori students into science and technology career pathways

Hundreds of Māori high school students will soon be inspired to take up STEMM subjects…

Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter

The world’s first large scale hydrogen production plant in Southland – a flawed think-big project

A plan by two of New Zealand’s largest electricity generators to create the world’s largest…

chelsea-and-chris

Young alumni show it's never too early to start giving back

University of Waikato alumni Chelsea Blackstock, 26, and Chris Wakefield, 28, have established a scholarship…

Terry Isson

Silica secreting marine organisms regulate climate on Earth

A picture of our changing climate is often captured in images of bleached coral reefs,…

Mayor Paula Southgate with Professor Bruce Clarkson from Waikato University

Ecology researcher awarded Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal

The Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal, one of the city’s highest accolades, was awarded to University of…