Currently, a Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, 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, bioactive compounds from fresh produce, and the development of postharvest technology. Additionally, he is constantly involved in the progress of science in horticulture, crop production, alternative disease management, and the recovery of protein from food waste. He is also an Associate Editor of the Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. He has received several awards in teaching, research, and knowledge exchange.
Experience spans from knowledge of the production, physiology, and biochemistry of fresh produce to the field of post-harvest technology. The isolation and characterisation of bioactive compounds extracted from fruits and vegetables, as well as their effects on human health and well-being, is a subject of great interest. Additionally, alternative management of diseases of horticultural crops is another area of in-depth understanding. This field also includes a 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.
I designed and led three research-informed modules: Agri-food Production Systems, Postharvest preservation, and Advanced Postharvest Technology. I also designed and directed an MSc program for… read more
My research focuses on sustainable food systems, with a particular focus on providing solutions for Farm-to-Fork. Working across the science-policy interface, in my career I have acted as an advisor… read more
YEOH WEI KEAT, CHARLES,FORNEY AND ASGAR ALI, 2014. Effects of ozone on major antioxidants and microbial populations of fresh-cut papaya Postharvest Biology and Technology. 89, 56 - 58
MEI KYING ONG, FEROZ KABIR KAZI, CHARLES F. FORNEY AND ASGAR ALI, 2013. Effect of gaseous ozone on papaya anthracnose Food and Bioprocess Technology. 6, 2996 - 3005
I designed and led three research-informed modules: Agri-food Production Systems, Postharvest preservation, and Advanced Postharvest Technology. I also designed and directed an MSc program for biotechnology and contributed to teaching pre-projects. In my career, I delivered guest lectures all over the world and held visiting professorship positions at the University of Western Australia, Leaders Institute ( Australia). I also acknowledge the module Commercialisation in Biotechnology and contributed to several other modules.
"All men by nature desire to know" Aristotle. The learning interests of Prof. Asgar are even more vaster than those of teaching interests. From crop science to the postharvest biology of fruits and vegetables, to elucidate the phytochemical content of exotic fruits and vegetables, the impact of climate change on horticulture, and the impact of postharvest losses on global food security, no interest is too global or too local.
My research focuses on sustainable food systems, with a particular focus on providing solutions for Farm-to-Fork. Working across the science-policy interface, in my career I have acted as an advisor to many different bodies and organisations, including UKRI, and Rockefeller. 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:
- Physiological and biochemical attributes for yield determinants in rice (Oryza sativa) - LRGS grant funded by Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia (2011 - 2016).
- 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).
- Cerafusion technology for physico-chemical responses and decay of selected tropical fruits and vegetables- funded by MedKlinn International Sdn Bhd Malaysia (2010 - 2012).
- 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).
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:
- 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).
- 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).
- Postharvest bio control of anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) of papaya using antagonistic bacteria- funded by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia (2009 - 2010).
Establishment of a leading research center in the field of sustainable food systems, 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.