Research of the Horticulture and Product Physiology group (HPP)

The role of the Horticulture and Product Physiology group is to foster the science of the supply chain for crops produced under protected cultivation.

The focus of the group is on greenhouse horticulture and the post-harvest quality of products produced in greenhouses as well as the post-harvest quality of tropical fruit. Responses of physiological processes to the environment are studied aiming to predict and control the phenotype of the plant and plant products.

Growth and development of plants as well as product quality are studied as emergent properties of underlying physiological and genetic processes.

Research fields such as phenotyping, (LED) light regulation of plant processes and functional-structural plant modelling are gaining increasing prominence.

The research of the group is centred around three themes:

  • Photosynthesis
    Photosynthesis is the driving force for most trophic systems on Earth. Basic research is conducted into understanding the regulation and limitations of photosynthesis. To do this, instrumentation that allows to look at the biophysical engine of photosynthesis inside the leaf, is developed and used. In addition, source/sink relationships are studied as optimal photosynthesis will only lead to optimal growth and quality if attention is paid to balancing the source and sink strength in plants.
  • Morphogenesis
    The function and structure of a plant show strong interactions. These interactions are studied in an integrated way. The morphogenesis of plants is at least as important as leaf photosynthesis in determining plant growth. Furthermore, the morphology of the plant is a very important determinant of the quality of many horticultural (ornamental) plants.
  • Product physiology
    The quality of a fruit, a flower, or a pot plant does not end when it leaves the grower. Neither does it start when it is bought by for instance a trading company. Quality is studied as a continuous process from cultivation through the post-harvest phase until the product is used by the consumers. Furthermore, in order to control product quality HPP not only aims to understand the processes underlying product quality but it also develops methodologies for monitoring product quality.

For more information about research at HPP-WU please mail our research coordinator: Ep.Heuvelink@wur.nl

Information on completed and available research-related BSc- or MSc-thesis projects for students at HPC can be found in the Education-section.