School of Biosciences
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Image of Asgar Ali

Asgar Ali

Professor and Director of Centre for Postharvest Biotechnology, Faculty of Science

Contact

  • workRoom BA 34 Block B
    Malaysia Campus
    Jalan Broga
    43500 Semenyih
    Selangor Darul Ehsan
    Malaysia
  • work+6 (03) 8924 8219
  • fax+6 (03) 8924 8018

Biography

Currently a Professor in Postharvest Physiology and Technology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Prof Asgar, is the founding director of the 'Centre of Excellence for Postharvest Biotechnology' at the University of Nottingham, a research group deemed for great success in its field and great impact beyond. With a range of postharvest students under his guidance and supervision, Prof Asgar has set the grounds for pioneering and innovative research in the field of edible coatings and films for postharvest biology. Additionally, he is constantly involved in the progress of science within postharvest biology as an Associate Editor of the journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology.

Expertise Summary

Experiences span across knowledge of the physiology and biochemistry of fruits and vegetables to the field of post-harvest technology. Primarily the isolation and characterization of bioactive compounds extracted from fruits and vegetables as well as their effect on human health and well-being is a subject of great experience. Additionally, the analysis of physico-chemical and sensory characteristics of fruits, vegetables and flowers is another area of in-depth understanding. Moreover, an elaborate level of expertise has also been acquired in the field of post-harvest quality and shelf-life of fruits and vegetables. This field also includes thorough knowledge of postharvest technologies to extend the shelf life of perishable fruits and vegetables, with particular emphasis on modified atmosphere techniques and edible coatings and films.

Teaching Summary

The fields of postharvest biology and technology, horticulture and plant physiology are key areas of teaching interests. Ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate modules, a variety of modules have… read more

Research Summary

Currently, strategies are being developed towards gaining a deeper understanding of the pre-harvest and post-harvest factors that control fruit quality and storage life. This will allow further… read more

Selected Publications

  1. "A new era of food coatings" Featured article on National Geographic Hungary. Uploaded on 4th December 2012 on http://www.ng.hu/Tudomany/2012/12/elelmiszerbevonatok_uj_korszaka
  1. "Edible coatings keep fruits and vegetables fresh". Featured scientist on EarthSky, part of EarthSky special series: 'Feeding the Future'. Uploaded on http://earthsky.org/feeding-the-future/asgar-ali-edible-coatings-keep-fruits-and-vegetables-fresh-2
  1. "Grow not waste not". On Global Food Security blog, managed by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Uploaded on 21st March 2012, on http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/blog/index.php/2012/03/grow-not-waste-not/#more-785
  1. "Improving on food quality'. Featured press release on The Star. Uploaded on 29th January 2012,on http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?sec=education&file=/2012/1/29/education/10538865
  1. "Making sure the food we grow is good enough to eat". Featured press release on Farming UK. Uploaded on 25th January 2012, on http://www.farminguk.com/News/Making-sure-the-food-we-grow-is-good-enough-to-eat_22647.html

The fields of postharvest biology and technology, horticulture and plant physiology are key areas of teaching interests. Ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate modules, a variety of modules have been taught and are currently being taught by Prof Asgar. These modules cover vast topics including plant biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and pathology as well as more specific fields such as plant cell signaling and the responses of crops to environmental stresses.

"All men by nature desire to know" Aristotle. The learning interests of Prof Asgar are even vaster than the teaching interests. Starting from the postharvest biology of fruits and vegetables to elucidating the phytochemical content of exotic fruits and vegetables; from the impact of climate change as a stress on horticulture to the impact postharvest losses on global food security, no interest is too global nor too local.

Current Research

Currently, strategies are being developed towards gaining a deeper understanding of the pre-harvest and post-harvest factors that control fruit quality and storage life. This will allow further development of suitable technologies to overcome post-harvest issues that are encountered by the food industry, which is another fundamental research area. Great emphasis is currently placed on the phytochemical properties of exotic fruits and vegetables and the use of post-harvest technologies to maintain these desirable properties. Furthermore, this involves the development of edible coatings based on natural products such as chitosan, gum Arabic and propolis, as well the use of the patented CerafusionTM Ion Technology, a process used by Medklinn ozone chambers, for the extension of shelf-life of fruits and vegetables. Prof Asgar is the principal investigator for a number of projects, funded by governmental bodies as well as by private organizations.

Currently on-going projects include:

  1. Physiological and biochemical attributes for yield determinants in rice (Oryza sativa) - LRGS grant funded by Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia (2011 - 2016).
  2. Development of chitosan-based nanoemulsion biofungicides for the control of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, causal agent of anthracnose in dragon fruit plants- funded by Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Malaysia (2010 - 2012).
  3. Cerafusion technology for physico-chemical responses and decay of selected tropical fruits and vegetables- funded by MedKlinn International Sdn Bhd Malaysia (2010 - 2012).
  4. Development of novel edible coatings from natural products for enhancing the storage life of tropical fruits- funded by Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Malaysia (2008 - 2011).

Past Research

Previous research focused on the post-harvest life of fruits and vegetables, with specific interest on the control of microorganisms using different tactics. These projects included:

  1. Efficacy of chitosan for the suppression of growth and production of ligninolytic enzymes by Ganoderma boninense in vitro- funded by Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Malaysia (2008 - 2010).
  2. Estimation of postharvest losses at various stages of the supply chain for cabbage, chilli, cucumber and long bean- funded by Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Malaysia (2009 - 2010).
  3. Postharvest bio control of anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) of papaya using antagonistic bacteria- funded by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia (2009 - 2010).

Future Research

Establishment of a leading research center in the field of post-harvest technology, benefiting tropical fruits and vegetables, particularly the underutilized, in areas such as value addition and nutritional enhancement. Such a research center will require support from a multitude of reputable personalities, some of which have already been achieved such as the Ministry of Agriculture in terms of financial support. However, cooperation and collaboration from interested private organizations for collaboration is currently being sought.

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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