Up to 80 per cent of Hass avocados on the retail shelf have defects in the flesh, which can reduce consumer purchasing. Bruising and rots are the two most significant defects. Reducing rots in avocado fruit has received considerable attention, but there's no clear understanding of how to reduce flesh bruising. The requirements to achieve this are knowledge of where and how bruising is occurring, and tools to help businesses to reduce it. 

The proposed initial research would aim to identify practices from arrival at the retail store to the consumer home that are causing bruising and to scope commercial remedies.

The study would cover one or both of the following aspects: 

  1. Consumer fruit-handling and buying (quality, price point, sale) behaviour in the retail store and into and in the home would be carefully characterised through observation and analysis (in-store and in-home consumer surveys), video capture and analysis (in-store and in-home), diary and analysis (in-store and in-home), and interview and analysis. In all instances, the work would be with consenting stores, store staff, shoppers and/or consumers 
  2. The forces involved in mechanical injury by consumers would be carefully characterised through laboratory texture-profile analyser analysis (model finger or thumb attachment) and instrumented glove analysis (pressure transducer-fitted gloves with electronic output).

Location: UQ Gatton and Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park (DAF Queensland)

Expected outcomes: social and/or technological applied and/or strategic research work experience in postharvest horticulture; and work experience with horticulture scientists and horticulture supply-chain partners and third-party providers in the Queensland avocado industry

Supervisors: Professor Daryl Joyce

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project members