Elizabeth J. Mitcham

Elizabeth Mitcham

Position Title
Specialist in CE and Center Director, Postharvest Technology Center


UC Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., University of Maryland; Horticulture, 1990
  • M.S., North Carolina State University; Horticulture, 1986
  • B.S., University of Maryland; Horticulture, 1984

Research interests and expertise: 

The focus of my research and extension program is the postharvest biology and technology of fruits, especially apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, mangos, blueberries, and raspberries, as well as almonds and walnuts. In addition to studies on harvest maturity, storage conditions and flavor quality, my program focuses on regulation of fruit ripening in pears, and cellular regulation of calcium deficiency disorders in tomato and apple.

In addition, my program is actively developing strategies for postharvest insect control in harvested and exported commodities, including citrus and table grapes.

Current projects: 

  • Horticulture Innovation Lab; USAID
  • Understanding mechanisms of rancidity to extend shelf life of walnuts for the snack market; California Walnut Commission
  • Improved Post-Storage Walnut Quality by Understanding Water Activity Relationships; CDFA
  • Elucidating the molecular mechanism of pit formation in cherries for improving storability; BARD
  • Use of nitric oxide as an alternative to methyl bromide and its effect on table grapes and navel orange postharvest quality; USDA Cooperative Agreement
  • Use of Vapormate as an Alternative to Methyl Bromide for Postharvest Control of Fuller Rose Beetle Eggs and Mites on Citrus; California Citrus Quality Council, USDA FAS TASC Program

Current teaching: 

  • Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops; PLS 196 (spring quarter)

External activities that contribute to scholarship:

  • Vice-President International Division, American Society for Horticultural Science

Prizes, Awards, Honors:

  • Chancellor's International Engagement Achievement Award, University of California, Davis, 2017
  • Outstanding International Horticulturist, American Society for Horticultural Science, 2015

Google Scholar


Social media links: 



  • Postharvest
  • Quality
  • Calcium
  • Flavor
  • Fruit
  • Food security
  • Horticulture
  • Food loss