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Christopher Watkins

Chris Watkins

Professor; Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension

366/127 Roberts Hall/Plant Science
(607) 255-8546

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.

Research Focus

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.

Teaching Focus

I regularly provide guest lectures for various academic courses, but I have no formal teaching component.

Awards and Honors

  • Inducted into Alpha Zeta (2019)
  • CALS Alumni Outstanding Faculty Award (2018)
  • B.Y. Morrison Lecture invitee, American Society for Horticultural Science (2016)
  • Fellow (2015) American Society for Horticultural Science
  • Herman M. Cohn Professor of Horticulture (2013)

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Watkins, C. B. (2017). Advances in postharvest handling and storage of apples. p. 337-367 Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Apples Evans, E (ed.), Burleigh Dodds Scientific Publishing, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
  • Watkins, C. B. (2017). Post-harvest Physiology of Edible Plant Tissues. p. 1017-1085 Fennema’s Food Chemistry, Fifth Edition Srinivasan Damodaran, Kirk L. Parkin (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl United States .
  • Watkins, C. B. (2016). 1-Methylcyclopropene (MCP). p. 83-88 The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks Kenneth C. Gross, Chien Yi Wang, and Mikal Saltveit (ed.), United States Department of Agriculture.