Faculty and research guide

Laboratory of Pomology

Tetsuo Mukai

Our basic focus is on the stable annual production of high-quality fruit, especially of the Satsuma mandarin, which we might call the symbol of Shizuoka. We study cultivation management, aiming to produce fruits that growers and consumers want, with a proper balance of sugar and acid, and with many nutritious components, that can be produced reliably every year. Even as we focus on the quality of the produce, we are also looking at the development of systems that can reduce the environmental burdens of production.

[1] Research on the physiology of fruit maturation
The quality of fruit is determined mainly by the amounts of sugar and acid they contain. These contents are affected by temperature, soil moisture, and fertilization. We are studying sugar accumulation and the mechanism of acid conversion.

[2] Research on annual production
Many fruit trees have a somewhat biennial bearing pattern, in which an abundant crop one season is followed by a less significant crop the following year. It is possible to overcome this pattern to some extent by thinning the immature fruits on the tree. However, this is incompatible with high-quality fruit production. We are developing techniques that allow us to grow fruit that is both high quality and can be produced in reliable quantity, year after year.

[3] Research on topsoil control
Thickly growing weeds compete with cash crops for nourishment and water. Yet if there are no weeds, soil runoff due to rain becomes a problem. Using a grass species that avoids both problems, we are studying the possibility of reducing the amount of fertilizer applied to the grove and at how to supply organic sources of nourishment.

[4] Research on the introduction of prunes, olives, tropical fruits, etc.
In addition to citrus, we are studying the ploidy of a new variety of plum, the “Kiyoh”, and the ability of olives to decrease greenhouse gases, and we are testing the introduction of tropical and subtropical fruit trees.

We are doing research on the mechanism of maturation using juice vesicles cultured from the Satsuma mandarin.

Multi-cultivation in which a fruit is covered with a porous film: The fruit sugar is increased due to water stress.

The “Kiyoh” plum, as large as a peach