Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Urban Plant Ecophysiology

Prof. Dr. agr. Susanne Huyskens-Keil


Head of Research Group

Quality Dynamics/ Postharvest Quality Management of Perishable Crops

Room 112 (1st floor)



Research Focus
  • Integrative quality evaluation, postharvest physiology and quality assurance of highly perishable fruits and vegetables of temperate and tropical/subtropical origin.
  • Comprehensive evaluation of product quality during food supply chain management via determination of interactions between stress-mediated ecophysiological and technological impacts in pre- and postharvest.
  • Assessment of physiological processes leading to quality decay by stress during postharvest allowing prediction and minimization of losses in quality.
  • Improvement of postharvest handling procedures and new postharvest treatments for food safety and consumer oriented concerns assuring hygienic conditions and optimizing bioactive health promoting plant compounds.
  • New emerging postharvest technologies (ozone, UV-C/UV-B, 1-MCP, disinfection technologies (e.g. ethanol, chlorine dioxide, acetic acid), coatings, biological film packaging) for the quality assurance of fruit and vegetables – Impact on sensory, nutritional and health promoting quality attributes and food safety.
  • Stress-induced dynamics of characteristic health promoting compounds of fruits and vegetables in postharvest.

In cooperation with e.g. Leibniz-Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Federal Institute for Risk Evaluation, Max Rubner-Institute Karlsruhe, University Freiburg.

  • Hortinlea (Learning and Innovation in Horticultural Value Chains to Improve the Livelihood Situation of Rural and Urban Poor in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania), iR Programm "GlobE - Global Food Security". Responsible for Subproject: Quality assurance and preservation of African vegetables during postharvest for reducing food losses and improving nutritional value, storability food safety and human health. (BMBF/BMZ).

In cooperation with African partners in Kenia (Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University, University Nairobi), World Vegetable Center, and German partners (Max Rubner-Institute Karlsruhe, Geisenheim University, University Freiburg, Leibniz-Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops Großbeeren e.V.)


Expert in third-funding acquisition of various national and international projects in South-East Asia, East Africa, Columbia (e.g. EU Asia-Link-Project Curriculum and organizational development for higher education in agro-industrial technology in Indonesia; BMZ-Supporting Higher Education on Rural Development in Vietnam, Indonesia and China). German Modell- and Demonstration Projects (MuD) in the field of Biodiversity (On-farm utilization and conservation of heirloom vegetables by developing networks, (BMELV/BLE)E)) Development of the "Red List of threatened cultivated plant species for vegetables") and Climate Change (Innovation Network Climate Adapation Berlin Brandenburg (INKA BB) -TP 9: Adaptation of horticultural crops to water stress with special emphasis on changes of health related primary and secondary plant compounds (BMBF project).

  • German Horticultural Society (Deutsche Gartenbauwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft e.V.)
  • German Society of Plant Quality Research (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Qualitätsforschung pflanzlicher Nahrungsmittel e.V.)
  • Society of Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Research (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Tropische und Subtropische Agrarforschung) (ATSAF)
Member of Academic Affairs at HU-Berlin
  • Academic Council
  • Medical Senate Charité
  • Council of the Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Council of the Albrecht Daniel-Thaer-Institute for Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences at Faculty of Life Sciences

At the Faculty of Life Sciences, lectures in the field of quality dynamics in pre- and postharvest of food crops are being offered for the following accredited study courses: B.Sc. Horticultural Science, B.Sc. Agricultural Science, M.Sc. Process- and Quality Management in Agriculture and Horticulture, M.Sc. International Horticultural Science, with the main emphasis on:

  • Characteristic quality attributes of horticultural and agricultural products, limitations and possibilities of their integral evaluation, incl. national and international laws and orders for quality evaluation and quality assurance
  • Quality dynamics and impact factors on quality during production and postharvest
  • Product physiology in pre- and postharvest
  • Methods of crop quality determination (destructive and invasive, non-destructive methods)
  • Postharvest technologies, storage, postharvest treatments
  • Stored product protection
  • Quality management systems and quality management along food supply chain (from production until consumer)
  • Quality management of fruits and vegetables in the tropics and subtropics

Lectures are backed by demonstration trials, excursions and seminars.


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