Mikal E. Saltveit

Office: 107 Mann Laboratory
Laboratory: 122 Mann Laboratory
Fax: 530-752-4554
Lab web page


BA-University of Minnesota, Botany, 1967
MS-Univercity of Minnesota, Botany, 1972
Ph.D.-Michigan State University, Botany and Horticulture, 1977

Professional Experience

Professor in the Vegetable Crops Department, UC Davis. Teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in plant physiology, and researching the physiological effects of abiotic stresses (e.g., heat and chilling, low oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide, and wounding).

Director of the UCD Postharvest Biology Program. (1990-Present)

Director of the UCD Mann Laboratory for Postharvest Research. (1989 - Present).

Associate Professor in the Vegetable Crops Department, UC Davis. (7/1989 - 7/1992).

Assistant Professor in the Vegetable Crops Department, UC Davis. (3/1983 - 7/1989).

Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University; Teaching graduate level postharvest plant physiology courses, and researching the physiological and biochemical changes associated with apple fruit maturation and ripening. (3/1978 - 3/1983).

Research Associate with Dr. Hans Kende at the DOE/MSU Plant Research Laboratory. (9/1977 - 3/1978).

Research Botanist under the Presidential Internship Program of the NSF for the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA, on a NASA funded program to investigate the possibility of growing plants in outer space. (3/1972 - 8/1973).


My research program centers on the physiological effects of three major abiotic stresses; physical injury (i.e., cutting, bruising and bending), temperature extremes (i.e., heat shock and chilling), and altered gaseous atmospheres (i.e., low oxygen and high carbon dioxide, and pollution with ethylene). Besides being crucially important in many aspects of plant growth and development, these abiotic stresses are the predominant causes of reduced quality in harvested fruits and vegetables. Pathogens also reduce quality, however, they usually can only successfully attack commodities weakened by exposure to previous stresses. While at UCD, I have developed an internationally recognized research program incorporating basic and applied physiological studies of these abiotic stresses. My research activities have received two awards from the American Society for Horticultural Science for the most outstanding research paper on vegetable crops published by the Society in 1988 and in 1989.


My main teaching activities include the following courses: Vegetable Crops 212, the advanced lecture and laboratory course on the postharvest physiology of vegetables; one half of Plant Science 112, the basic undergraduate course in postharvest physiology and technology; one half of Plant Science 112L, the laboratory course that complements Plant Science 112, Agriculture, Science and the Environment 2, the introductory course for Plant Science majors. I currently have three Ph.D students.

Selected references

Abeles, F.B., P.W. Morgan and M.E. Saltveit. 1992. Ethylene in Plant Biology, 2nd Edition. Academic Press, xv, 414 p.

Shellie, K.C. and M.E. Saltveit. 1993. The lack of a respiratory rise in muskmelon fruit ripening on the plant challenges the definition of climacteric behavior. Journal of Experimental Botany 44(265): 1403-1406.

Collins, G.G., X.L. Nie, and M.E. Saltveit. 1995. Heat shock proteins and chilling injury of mung bean hypocotyls. Journal of Experimental Botany 46: 795-802

Ritenour, M.A. and M.E. Saltveit. 1996. Identification of a Phenylalanine Ammonia-lyase Inactivating Factor in Harvested Iceberg Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Physiologia Plantarum. 97(2): 327-331.

Saltveit, M.E. and M.E. Mangrich. 1996. Use of density measurements to study the effect of excision, storage, abscisic acid and ethylene on the development of pithiness in celery (Apium graveolens L.) petioles. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 121: 137-141.

Saltveit, M.E. 1996. Physical and physiological changes in minimally processed fruits and vegetables. In Phytochemistry of Fruit and Vegetables. (Ed. F.A. Tomás-Barberán) Oxford University Press. pp. 205-220.

Beaulieu, J.C., G. Peiser, and M.E. Saltveit. 1997. Acetaldehyde is a causal agent responsible for ethanol-induced ripening inhibition in tomato fruit. Plant Physiology. 113: 431-439.

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