Professor; Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension
I conduct a postharvest science research program with a major focus on apple fruit. My research and extension activities are statewide and include development and conduct of harvest maturity management, postharvest handling, and storage technology from both basic and applied aspects. I am also the Director for Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), and Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and College of Human Ecology.
My research program is focused on developing the knowledge required for use of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), a new ethylene-binding inhibitor that extends the storage life of apples. This work is now being extended to preharvest 1-MCP applications. I also conduct research on new cultivars of importance to New York growers, on the effects of postharvest techniques on the nutritional quality of fruit, and to better understand the underlying mechanisms in fruit responses to storage conditions such as temperature, atmosphere, and 1-MCP, and the interaction of these factors with the development of storage disorders. Current projects focus on the development of physiological disorders of apples such as internal browning, external carbon dioxide injury and superficial scald.
Outreach and Extension Focus
I am responsible for developing and conducting the harvest maturity management, postharvest handling, and storage technology component of the multidisciplinary statewide fruit Extension program. I work in cooperation with Extension faculty in various departments, regional fruit specialists, Extension educators, storage operators, and marketers in development, conduct, and evaluation of the Extension program.
I regularly provide guest lectures for various academic courses, but I have no formal teaching component.
Awards and Honors
- Fellow (2015) American Society for Horticultural Science
- Gapper, N., Rudell, D., Giovannoni, J. J., & Watkins, C. B. (2013). Biomarker development for external CO2 injury prediction in apples through exploration of both transcriptome and DNA methylation changes. AoB Plants. 2013; 10.1093/aobpla/plt021 .
- Lu, X., Nock, J. F., Ma, Y., Liu, X., & Watkins, C. B. (2013). Effects of repeated 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments on ripening and superficial scald of ÔCortlandÕ and ÔDeliciousÕ apples. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 78:48-54.
- Amissah, J. G., Hotchkiss, J. H., & Watkins, C. B. (2013). Nitric oxide inhibition of alcohol dehydrogenase in fresh-cut apples (Malus domestica Borkh). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 61:11076-11081 .
- Nock, J. F., & Watkins, C. B. (2013). Repeated treatment of apple fruit with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) prior to controlled atmosphere storage. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 79:73-79.
- Tong, C. B., McKay, S. J., Luby, J., Beaudry, R., Contreras, C., Nock, J. F., & Watkins, C. B. (2013). Using mixed effects models to estimate the effect of harvest date and its interactions with post-harvest storage regime on apple fruit firmness. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. 88:29-36.
- Lee, J., Rudell, D. R., Davies, P. J., & Watkins, C. B. (2012). Metabolic changes in 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP)-treated ÔEmpireÕ apple fruit during storage. Metabolomics. 8:742-753.
- Lee, S. L., Huber, D. J., & Watkins, C. B. (2012). Influence of wounding and aging on 1-MCP sorption and metabolism in fresh-cut tissue and cell-free homogenates from apple fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 67:52-58.
- Lee, J., Cheng, L., Rudell, D. R., & Watkins, C. B. (2012). Antioxidant metabolism of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treated ÔEmpireÕ apples during controlled atmosphere storage. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 65:79-91.
- Harb, J., Gapper, N. E., Giovannoni, J. J., & Watkins, C. B. (2012). Molecular analysis of softening and ethylene synthesis and signaling pathways in a non-softening apple cultivar, ÔHoneycrispÕ and a rapidly softening cultivar, ÔMcIntoshÕ. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 64:94-103.
- Rugkong, A., McQuin, R., Giovannoni, J. J., Rose, J., & Watkins, C. B. (2011). Expression of ripening-related genes in cold stored tomato fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 61:#N/A.