University of California

Faculty Directory

Mitcham, Elizabeth J.


Ph.D. (1990), Horticulture
University of Maryland


Postharvest biology and technology of fresh fruits and nuts.

1047 Wickson
Phone Number
Graduate Groups

Membership in graduate groups: Plant Biology, Horticulture and Agronomy, Food Science, and Entomology.

  • Specialist and Pomologist
  • Active member of the Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center and Faculty Director

The focus of my research and extension program is the postharvest biology and technology of fruits, especially apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, as well as almonds and walnuts. In addition to studies on harvest maturity, storage conditions and flavor quality, my program focuses on regulation of fruit ripening and cellular regulation of calcium deficiency disorders.

In addition, my program is actively developing strategies for postharvest insect control in harvested and exported commodities, including citrus and table grapes.

Current research goals:

  • Explore how pear fruit attain the capacity to ripen after harvest and when treated with 1-MCP, an ethylene action inhibitor.
  • Explore the effects of postharvest treatments to stimulate pear ripening capacity on fruit sensory quality, volatile content and cell wall composition.
  • Explore the development of calcium deficiency disorders at a cellular and molecular level as related to calcium homeostasis and plant growth regulator effects.
  • Develop a pre-shipment treatment for control of bean thrips in navel oranges destined for Australian markets.
  • Improve the existing postharvest fumigation treatment with carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide for control of black widow spiders on table grapes.
  • Explore potential treatment options for control of light brown apple moths on harvested commodities as a preventative measure against possible spread of this quarantined pest within California.
Selected Publications
Plant Sciences
  • UC Davis Faculty
Extension Specialist

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