Knowledge for a sustainable world

BSc, MSc, PGCert, PhD

Dr Marcin Glowacz joined the University of Greenwich in February 2013. He got his MSc (with distinction) in Ecology and the Environment from the Lancaster University, with dissertation project focused on the use of jasmonate priming for induced defences in plants. He subsequently obtained his PhD in Plant Biochemistry at Harper Adams University. In his work he was investigating the effects of postharvest storage conditions (temperature and light) on the quality changes of baby leaf spinach. Furthermore, Dr Glowacz was looking to understand, whether and which treatments prior to storage can potentially be used by the industry to extend the shelf-life of fresh produce. He has vast experience in plant physiology and biochemistry and is familiar with number of analytical techniques, e.g. HPLC and GC analyses, spectrophotometry and quality evaluation. He also have a good understanding of supply chains, as majority of his work has been conducted in collaboration with industrial partners.

Dr Glowacz is interested in plant responses to environmental stresses (abiotic and biotic) and food science - quality of fruit and vegetables. He has published his work in high quality, well-recognized journals, e.g. New Phytologist, Food Chemistry, Postharvest Biology and Technology, and Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. The focus of his research is on finding ways to improve the fresh produce quality and/or to extend its shelf-life.

The research in which Dr Glowacz was investigating the effects of ozone exposure on fresh produce quality was carried on at Natural Resources Institute and Produce Quality Centre (collaboration between NRI and NIAB-EMR) in collaboration with commercial partners such as Thanet Earth, Mack, Barfoots, Grapes Direct, and Onnic International.

More recently, Dr Glowacz got interested in the use of natural volatiles within the fruit supply chain, and has conducted numerous trials with peaches and avocados. Some of his work was conducted in South Africa in collaboration with the South African Avocado Growers’ Association.

Dr Glowacz’s area of interest is in developing innovative technologies for the food industry. In the past Dr Glowacz has been involved in research aiming to improve tomato plant resistance to diseases. More recently, he has been collaborating with the fresh produce industry (e.g. Thanet Earth, Mack, Barfoots) in a search for ways to improve fresh produce quality and extend shelf-life via either implementing treatments prior to storage or optimising storage conditions, thus finding where within the supply chain, improvements can be made. Fresh produce has been recognised as a healthy food, thus there is increasing consumer demand for fresh fruit and vegetables. Their shelf-life, however, is relatively short and is limited by microbial contamination or visual, textural and nutritional quality loss. Thus, new techniques for food shelf-life extension are highly demanded by the industry.

"Developing the use of ozone to extend shelf-life and improve quality of fresh produce"

Ozone (O3) has been used by the industry as an antimicrobial agent for a number of years because in contrast to other sanitizers it does not leave chemical residues on the surface of fresh produce. In recent years, however, there is an increasing interest in the use of ozone not only as a sanitizer but also as a method to improve fresh produce quality (appearance, texture and/or nutritional content).

The aim of the research was to investigate the effect of ozone exposure on fresh produce quality. The work has been carried out using numerous commodities, i.e. cucumbers, courgettes, peppers, grapes, and strawberries as produce of interest with very promising results.

"Use of jasmonates and salicylates to reduce losses in avocado supply chain"

The focus of this project was on the effects of treatment with jasmonates and salicylates on the quality of avocado fruit, defined by disease incidence and severity, chilling injury, visual quality, and nutritional content. Postharvest treatments with jasmonates and salicylates have the ability to reduce decay by increasing fruit resistance to diseases and reducing chilling injury in numerous products.

United Kingdom is the biggest export market for the South Africa avocado fruit. There are numerous problems associated with the quality of the fruit, thus the aim of this research was to improve disease resistance and also reduce incidence of mesocarp disorders with the use of natural volatiles. Numerous trials have been conducted in South Africa with very promising results.

  • Glowacz, M., Bill, M., Tinyane, P. and Sivakumar, D. (2017). Maintaining postharvest quality of cold stored ‘Hass’ avocados by altering the fatty acids content and composition with the use of natural volatile compounds – methyl jasmonate and methyl salicylate. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, (in press).
  • Bill, M., Korsten, L., Remize, F., Glowacz, M. and Sivakumar D. (2017). Effect of thyme oil vapours exposure on phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and lipoxygenase (LOX) genes expression, and control of anthracnose in ‘Hass’ and ‘Ryan’ avocado fruit. Scientia Horticulturae, 224, pp. 232-237
  • Glowacz, M., Roets, N. and Sivakumar, D. (2017). Control of anthracnose disease via increased activity of defence related enzymes in ‘Hass’ avocado fruit treated with methyl jasmonate and methyl salicylate. Food Chemistry, 234, pp. 163-167.
  • Khumalo, K.N., Tinyane, P., Soundy, P., Romanazzi, G., Glowacz, M. and Sivakumar, D. (2017). Effect of thyme oil vapour exposure on the brown rot infection, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activity, phenolic content and antioxidant activity in red and yellow skin peach cultivars. Scientia Horticulturae, 214, pp. 195–199.
  • Glowacz, M. and Rees, D. (2016). The practicality of using ozone. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 96, pp. 4637–4643.
  • Glowacz, M. and Rees, D. (2016). Exposure to ozone reduces postharvest quality loss in red and green chilli peppers. Food Chemistry, 210, pp. 305-310.
  • Glowacz, M. and Rees, D. (2016). Using jasmonates and salicylates to reduce losses within the fruit supply chain. European Food Research and Technology, 242, pp. 143-156.
  • Glowacz, M., Mogren, L.M., Reade, J.P.H., Cobb, A.H. and Monaghan, J.M. (2015). High- but not low-intensity light leads to oxidative stress and quality loss of cold-stored baby leaf spinach. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 95, pp. 1821–1829.
  • Glowacz, M., Colgan, R. and Rees, D. (2015). Influence of continuous exposure to gaseous ozone on the quality of red bell peppers, cucumbers and zucchini. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 99, pp. 1-8.
  • Glowacz, M., Colgan, R. and Rees, D. (2015). The use of ozone to extend the shelf-life and improve quality of fresh produce. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 95, pp. 662–671.
  • Glowacz, M., Mogren, L.M., Reade, J.P.H., Cobb, A.H. and Monaghan, J.M. (2013) Can hot water treatments enhance or maintain postharvest quality of spinach leaves? Postharvest Biology and Technology, 81, pp. 23-28.
  • Worrall, D., Holroyd, G.H., Moore, J.P., Glowacz, M., Croft, P., Taylor, J.E., Paul, N.D. and Roberts, M.R. (2012) Treating seeds with activators of plant defence generates long-lasting priming of resistance to pests and pathogens. New Phytologist, 193 (3), pp. 770-778.
  • Member of Society for Experimental Biology (2013-2016)
  • Member of International Society for Horticultural Science
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