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International R & D courses
Institute of Agricultural Engineering
Institute of Animal Scienc
Gilat Research Center
Newe Ya'ar Research Center
Institute of Plant Protection
Institute of Plant Science
*Postharvest and Food Sciences
Institute of Soil, Water & Environmental Sciences
Postharvest and Food Sciences

Postharvest and Food Sciences- Central ARO Campus, Rishon Lezion

Food Quality and Safety

  1. Gottlieb Daphna e-mail Team:Hebrew university
    Insect clocks: Implication in an integrated grain store pest management
    Many aspects of insect's behaviour and development are controlled by an internal clock. There are for example daily rhythms of general locomotion, feeding, mating, oviposition, in which these activities are restricted to a certain part of the day. The selective advantage of an event being clock controlled lies in the synchrony attained between behavior/ developmental stage and abiotic features and between individuals of the population. The aim of the project is to study the behavioral and genetic features of internal clocks of grain storage insects and to study its possible implications in IPM (integrated pest management).
  2. Poverenov Elena e-mail Team: Dr. Elena Poverenov
    Nanotechnology for food and agriculture
    In our lab we aim to provide green and safe solutions for the problems that arise in the fields of agriculture and food utilizing advanced nanotechnologcal approaches. Our lab projects:
    - Development and study of natural polymer-based nanostructures for delivery of effective active agents in food and agriculture (nutraceutics, plant nutrients, biostimulants, antimicrobials, ect)
    - Development and application of advanced active edible coating for protection and enhancing quality and shelf-life of agricultural products
    - Smart biobegradable packages
    - Nanotechnologies to form contact active surfaces
  3. Sela Shlomo e-mail Team: Yulia Kroupitski
    Interaction of the human pathogen Salmonella enterica with plants
    Salmonella enterica is a foodborne pathogen that contaminate animal- and plant-derived food.
    During recent years knowledge has accumulate regarding the complex interplay between Salmonella and the plant's host. The objective of the study is to decipher new mechanisms and bacterial genes that take part in the pathogen-plant interactions and enable the survival of Salmonella on and within the plant.
  4. Sela Shlomo e-mail Team: Yulia Kroupitski
    Biological control of Salmonella in seeds
    Outbreaks of Salmonella associated with fresh produce have been frequently reported in recent years. Salmonella can contaminate the plant and its seed in the field enabling the transmission of the pathogen to food as well as to newly grown seedling. We have recently isolated a natural Lactobacillus strain with anti-Salmonella properties, which can be applied to seed as a mean to control Salmonella upon germination. The objective of the study is to characterize the conditions for optimal activity of the probiotic strain and to gain knowledge regarding the underlying mechanisms.
  5. Shapiro Orr Haim e-mail Team:Prof. Salvador Almagro-Moreno, University of central Florida
    Genomic adaptations of the marine pathogen Vibrio vulnificus facilitating host microbiome invasion
    In this project we use a combination of advanced genomic tools and advanced microscopy and microfluidics to visualize and study the interactions of the bacterial pathogen Vibrio vulnificus with the model host Artemia salina. Specifically we are studying genomic adaptations of an important human pathogen enabling it to invade the gut microbiome of a model host. The successful candidate will be part of an international team working on questions at the forefront of host-pathogen interactions research, and will gain experience in advanced methods in microscopy, microfluidics and image analysis as well as genomics and bioinformatics tools.
  6. Shimshoni Jakob e-mail Team: Dr. Smadar Tal (Veterinary Hospital, Bet-Dagan) and Dr. Hagai Levin (Hebrew University)
    Mechanism of toxicity of pesticides on the male reproductive system
    Neonicotinoids are insecticides commonly utilized in agriculture and domestic gardens as well as in the veterinary medicine. Humans are exposed to neonicotinoids mainly through diet, drinking water, agricultural drift as well as by inhalation and direct skin contact following application of neonicotinoid formulations on house pets and farm animals. Recent studies suggest that neonicotinoids insecticides exert endocrine and fertility disrupting effects in humans and animals. Studies worldwide reporting a steep decline in sperm counts and increased men infertility rates over the last decades. Our research group studies the mechanism of male-reproduction and endocrine disrupting pesticides by utilizing in-vivo and in-vitro models. The identification of chemicals associated with reduced male fertility and elucidating their mechanism of toxicity, is crucial for conducting evidence-based risk-assessment and regulatory decision-making.
  7. Shimshoni Jakob e-mail Team: Prof Murad Ghanim
    The development of new acaricides with improved activity and reduced bee toxicity
    Honeybees are crucial for the pollination of agricultural crops and wild plants, helping to ensure food security and maintain biodiversity. Studies clearly indicated that bee populations are increasingly threatened around the world, mainly due to the devastating effect of the bee’s main ectoparasite, Varroa destructor. An effective application of acaricides is crucial for maintaining healthy and sustainable honeybee colonies. However, in recent years, varroa has developed extensive resistance against the majority of applied acaricides. Furthermore, numerous field studies have reported the development of resistance to the most effective commonly applied acaricide, amitraz. Consequently, the aim of our research group is to develop new acaricides, with increased efficacy, while concomitantly ensuring the safety for honeybees and other non-target organisms.
  8. Shemesh Moshe e-mail Team: Not-applicable
    Investigating molecular mechanism for biofilm formation by Bacillus species
    Bacillus species are prevalent in the milk processing environment where they form biofilms that are a major concern in the dairy industry. Contamination of milk by these bacteria is a serious health hazard, since some strains are highly pathogenic to human. The model organism Bacillus subtilis forms matrix-enclosed biofilms in response to different environmental cues. We are interested to investigate the role of the milk components in triggering biofilm formation through understanding a molecular mechanism which regulates biofilm formation by Bacillus species.
  9. Shemesh Moshe e-mail Team: Not-applicable
    Natural encapsulation of beneficial probiotic bacteria in extracellular matrix formed during biofilm formation
    Probiotics are often incorporated into foods and beverages to provide putative health benefits. To ensure their beneficial effects, these organisms must survive processing and storage of food, its passage through the upper gastrointestinal tract (GIT), and subsequent chemical ingestion processes until they reach their target organ. However, there is considerable loss in viability of probiotic bacteria in the acidic conditions of the stomach and the high bile concentration in the small intestine. We therefore develop a natural encapsulation system through inducing biofilm-forming capability of certain bacteria in order to protect on probiotic bacteria. We believe this approach could be potentially used as a vehicle for delivering viable probiotic cells to humans.

Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce

  1. Eshel Dani e-mail Team:Dr. Amit Gal-On , Dr. David Granot
    Using Genome editing as a tool for designing plant structure
    The potato tuber (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a swollen stem, which is used as the propagation material for commercial potato crops. At the end of a period of dormancy, the number of sprouts grow from the tuber nodes represent loss of tuber apical dominance and branching. In Mediterranean countries, seed tubers cannot be kept in cold storage for a long period as it leads to over-branching of the seed tuber after replanting. Tuber exposure to abiotic stress is reflected by loss of apical dominance and sprout branching. Our study suggest that the signal for etiolated branching of stems is originate from programmed cell death at the apical meristem, in case of external stress, or later from changes in the parenchyma sugar metabolism during long cold storage. Silencing of specific genes in both pathways modify the potato plant structure after replanting the tubers. We suggest that potato tuber can serve as a model system to study etiolated stem branching.
    Dr. Dani Eshel is a Group Leader in
  2. Haya Friedman e-mail Team: Haya Friedaman
    Understanding mechanism of ripening in banana
    Ripening is controlled by transcription factors. We crated transgenic lines reduced in these factors. This enabled us to discover that cytoskeleton and ABA are major player in ripening. Our goal is to elucidate the role of these new components in ripening.
  3. Haya Friedman e-mail Team:Dani Gamarsani, Haya Friedaman
    Role of calcium in apple cuticle formation
    Calcium application in arid areas causes an increase in lenticle breakdown, a phenomenon that reduce fruit quality. We found that calcium causes an opening of the lenticles and disrupt cuticle formation. The study will concentrate on the effect of calcium on cuticle structure and composition
  4. Amnon Lers e-mail Team: To be determined
    The Biological and Genetic Basis for Postharvest Chilling Injury Development in Stored Fruits
    Reducing postharvest losses estimated globally to be around 30% is considered an important solution to improve food security. Storage at low temperature is an efficient practice to prolong postharvest life of crops however its application is limited since many crops are susceptible to low temperature. Research is performed to learn about the physiological, biochemical, molecular and genetic basis for fruit sensitivity/tolerance to chilling stress in fruits. The results should aid in developing new strategies/treatments to alleviate chilling stress during postharvest as well as new tools for genetic or biotechnology-based breeding for chilling tolerance in postharvest storage.
  5. Amnon Lers e-mail Team: To be determined
    The involvement of RNases and nucleases in senescence, abscission and programmed cell death processes in plants
    The T2 RNases and type I nucleases are highly conserved enzymes, found in a wide variety of organisms but their specific biological functions are largely unknown. RNases and nucleases were hypothesized to be involved in senescence and programmed cell death (PCD) processes in plants. We investigate the function and regulation of a tomato T2-RNase in senescence and PCD and had found it is also involved with abscission in which PCD was found to occur as well. In parallel the regulation and cellular localization of an Arabidopsis type I nuclease was characterized. Research is conducted, in both tomato and Arabidopsis, to study the specific function/s of these nucleic acid degrading enzymes in senescence, abscission and PCD and the regulatory mechanism which governs the expression of their encoding genes.
  6. Ziv Carmit e-mail Team: Dr. Carmit Ziv
    Understanding resistance mechanisms of phytopathogenic fungi to cold storage.
    Fungal pathogens are considered the main cause of postharvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are estimated at about 30% product loss globally.Low temperature storage is an efficient practice to prolong the postharvest performance of crops with minimal negative impact to human health and the environment. However, some phytopathogenic fungi like Botrytis and Alternaria Spp. are highly tolerant to cold-storage conditions and can survive as a quiescent infection or even grow and cause rotting and decay of fruit during cold storage. We apply molecular biology techniques combined with basic biochemistry and LC/GC-MS based lipidomic approaches to study the molecular basis of fungal tolerance to cold stress. Specifically we investigate the involvement and cross talk between reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling and lipid metabolism in determining fungal morphogenesis and pathogenicity at low temperatures. A special focus is given to the involvement of sphingolipids in regulat
Updated on: 08/03/18 11:10
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