Horticultural Sciences Department

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Dr. Steven A. Sargent

Office:1211 Fifield Hall

Professor and Extension Postharvest Specialist

Areas of Research

  • Determine methods to reduce quality losses in fresh fruits and vegetables during harvest, handling and storage operations and develop practical handling guidelines.
  • Assess changes in such quality parameters as physical, sensory and nutritional components.
  • Evaluate effects of currently used and novel treatments (mechanical harvest, cooling, modified/controlled atmospheres, ethylene antagonists, such as 1-methylcyclopropene), on postharvest quality and food safety.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University (1984)
  • M.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University (1979)
  • B.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University (1976)

Teaching Responsibilities

Postharvest Horticulture Tour

Extension Program

  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of current and projected state of the Florida horticultural industry via regular visits to growing areas and packing/shipping facilities, discussions with county extension faculty and with industry leaders.  
  • Develop relevant extension materials based on results of my research program and new developments in the scientific literature.  
  • Develop and present training materials for extension outreach programs statewide; participate upon request/availability at local programs.  

Work and International Experiences

  • Research Collaborations
    • Embrapa Vegetables, Brasilia, 1997 to present, Embrapa Food Technology, Guaratiba Brazil, 1993 to 1995, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Agricultural Engineering College, Campinas, Brazil, 1998 to 2008
  • Extension Collaborations
    • Emater-Federal District of Brasilia, 2006 to present
    • Emater-Rio Grande do Sul 2010 to 2011
  • Invited Talks, Short Courses, Training Programs
    • Invited Speaker, August 2012, 16th World Congress of Food Science & Technology. Iguaçu Falls, Brazil.
    • Invited Keynote Address, 2009, National Olericulture Congress, Lindoia, SP, Brazil
    • Invited Lectures in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, South Korea, China, and Thailand
    • Short Courses Offered in Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua, and Portugal
    • Student Theses/Dissertation Research: Federal University of Viçosa; Univ. of São Paulo-ESALQ; Unicamp, Campinas
    • Visiting Scientists Hosted in My Lab from: Canada, Brazil, India, Korea, and Turkey
    • Fluent in Portuguese and intermediate fluency in Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • Honorary Professor, 2010, Universidad del Santa, Food Technology Department, Chimbote, Peru
  • Extension Publication Award, Southern Region, American Society for Horticultural Science, 1999, 2003, and 2004
  • ESCOP/ACOP Leadership ProgramParticipant, Experiment Station Committee on Organization & Policy
  • National Organization of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, 2001-2002 cohort
  • Educational Materials Award, Extension Division, American Society for Horticultural Science, 1999 and 2000
  • Most Outstanding Research Paper in Vegetable Crops, 1999, American Society for Horticultural Science
  • Ulysses P. Hedrick Award, 1999, American Pomological Society, 1st Place Paper, Montealegre, JC, Childers, NC, Sargent, SA, Barros, LM, Alves, RE, 1999, Cashew (Anarcardium occidentale, L.) nut and apple: a review of current production and handling recommendations, Fruit Varieties Journal 53(1):2-9
  • Researcher of the Year, 2010, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
  • International Educator of the Year, IFAS, Sr. Faculty Category, 2010, University of Florida International Center
  • The Presidential Gold Medal, 2002 and 2009, Florida State Horticulture Society
  • Jim App Award for Outstanding Design Team, 2002, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service
  • Best Paper Award, Florida State Horticultural Society, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Meetings)
  • Faculty Development Leave, 1993 to1994, University of Florida, Sabbatical year in Guaratiba, Brazil

Program Personnel

  • Adrian Berry, M.S., Senior Biological Scientist 
  • Catherine Belisle, PhD student (USA)
  • Carina Theodore, MS student (Haiti)

More Info

Thesis & Dissertations 

Related Links

Selected Publications

  • a) Books, Co-Authored
    • Brecht, J.K., S.A. Sargent, A.A. Kader, E.J. Mitcham, F. Maul, P.E. Brecht and O. Menocal. 2014. Mango Postharvest Best Management Practices Manual (1st revision). Univ. of Fla. Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville. Publ. HS1185. 74 pp. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1185
    • Brecht, J.K., S.A. Sargent, A.A. Kader, E.J. Mitcham, F. Maul, P.E. Brecht and O. Menocal. 2014. Manual de Prácticas para el Mejor Manejo Postcosecha del Mango (1st revision) Publ. HS1190. 67 pp. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1190(Spanish translation)
    • Brecht, J.K., S.A. Sargent, A.A. Kader, E.J. Mitcham, F. Maul, P.E. Brecht and O. Menocal. 2011. Manual de Prácticas para el Mejor Manejo Pós-Colheita  da Mango Publ. HS1194. 67 pp.http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HS/HS119400.pdf
    • Merva, G.E. and S.A. Sargent. Problem Analysis and Solution: A Manual for Technical Mathematics. Second Edition. Dept. of Agric. Engineering. Michigan State Univ. East Lansing. 1985. 172 pp.
  • b) Books, Contributor of Chapters
    • Sargent, S.A. and D.N. Maynard. 2012. Cucurbits. Chapter 14. In, Rees, D., G. Farrell and J. Orchard (Eds.), Crop Post-Harvest: Science and Technology. First Edition. Blackwell Publ., Ltd. West Sussex, UK. pp. 286-316.
    • Warren, O. and S.A. Sargent. 2011. Carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.). Chapter 18. In, Yahia, E. (Ed.), Biology & Technology of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Fruits, Vol. 2. Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Cambridge, UK. pp. 397-413.
    • Berry, A.D. and S.A. Sargent. 2011. Cashew apple and nut (Anacardium occidentale). Chapter 19. In, Yahia, E. (Ed.), Biology & Technology of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Fruits, Vol. 2. Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Cambridge, UK. pp. 414-422.
    • Sargent, S.A. and D.N. Maynard. 2009. Postharvest Biology and Technology of Cucurbits. Ch. 6. In, J. Janick (Ed.), Horticultural Reviews 35:315-354. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York.
    • Sargent, S.A., Brecht, J.K., and Forney, C.M.  2006. Blueberry Harvest and Postharvest Operations: Quality Maintenance and Food Safety. Pp. 139-151. In, Childers, N. F. and Lyrene, P. M. (Eds.)  Blueberries for Growers and Gardeners. Dr. Norman F. Childers Horticulture Publications, Gainesville FL.
    • Sargent, S.A. and Moretti, C.L. 2003. Tomato. In, Gross, K. and Saltveit, M. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist & Nursery Crops (3rd Edition). U.S.D.A. Handbook 66. USDA/ARS, Washington. (www.ba.ars.usda.gov/hb66/contents.html).
  • c) Refereed Publications
    • Makani, M.N., S.A. Sargent, L. Zotarelli, D.J. Huber and C.A. Sims. 2015.  Irrigation method and harvest time affect storage quality of two early-season, tablestock potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars. Scientia Horticulturae 197C:428-433.
    • J.S. Lee, B.M. Hurr, D.J. Huber, C.E. Vallejos and S.A. Sargent. 2015. Characterization of proteases and nucleases associated with ethylene-induced programmed cell death in immature cucumber fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology 110:190-196.
    • Vilarinho, L.B.O., D.J. H. da Silva, A. Greene, K.D. Salazar, C. Alves, M. Eveleth, B. Nichols, S. Tehseen, J.K. Khoury, Jr., S.A. Sargent and B. Rathinasabapathi. 2015. Inheritance of fruit traits in Capsicum annuum: heirloom cultivars as sources of quality parameters relating to pericarp shape, color, thickness, and total soluble solids. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 140(6):597-604.
    • Pereira, M.E.C., S.A. Sargent and D.J. Huber. 2015. Delayed and prolonged ethylene treatment alleviates firmness asynchrony enhanced by 1-methylcyclopropene exposure in Guatemalan-West Indian avocado. Postharvest Biology and Technology 108:54-60.
    • Berry, A.D., S.A. Sargent, M.E.C. Pereira and D.J. Huber. 2015. Postharvest Ripening and Quality of Guatemalan-West Indian Avocado Hybrids under Simulated Commercial Shipping Temperatures Following Treatment with Aqueous 1-Methylcyclopropene. HortTechnology 25(1):85-89.
    • Tokarskyy, O., K.R. Schneider, A. Berry, S.A. Sargent and A. Sreedharan. 2015. Sanitizer applicability in a laboratory model strawberry hydrocooling system. Postharvest Biology & Technology 101:103-106.
    • Sreedharan, A., O. Tokarskyy, S. Sargent and K.R. Schneider. 2015. Survival of Salmonella spp. on surface-inoculated forced-air cooled and hydrocooled intact strawberries, and in strawberry puree. Food Control 51:244-250.
    • Carson, L., M. Ozores-Hampton, K. Morgan, and S. Sargent. 2014. Effects of controlled-release fertilizer nitrogen rate, placement, source, and release duration on tomato grown with seepage irrigation. HortScience 49:798-806.
    • Carson, L., M. Ozores-Hampton, K. Morgan, and S. Sargent. 2014. Effect of controlled-release and soluble fertilizer on tomato production and postharvest quality in seepage irrigation. HortScience 49:89-95.
    • Pereira, M.E.C., S.A. Sargent, C.A. Sims, D.J. Huber, J.H. Crane and J.K. Brecht. 2014. Ripening and sensory analysis of Guatemalan-West Indian hybrid avocado following ethylene pretreatment and/or exposure to gaseous or aqueous 1-methylcyclopropene. Postharvest Biology and Technology (submitted).
    • Reyes-Cabrera, J., L. Zotarelli, D.L. Rowland, M.D. Dukes and S.A. Sargent. 2014. Drip as alternative irrigationmethod for potato in Florida sandy soils. American Journal of Potato Research (accepted).
    • Hurr, B.M., D.J. Huber, C. E. Vallejos, E. Lee and S.A. Sargent. 2013. Ethylene-induced overproduction of reactive oxygen species is responsible for the development of watersoaking in immature cucumber fruit. J. Plant Physiology 170:56-62.
    • Pereira, M.E.C.,D.M. Tieman, S.A. Sargent, H.J. Klee, and D.J. Huber. 2013. Volatile profiles of ripening West Indian and Guatemalan-West Indian avocado cultivars as affected by aqueous 1-methylcyclopropene. Postharvest Biology and Technology. (Accepted for Publication)
    • Sugri, I., S.A. Sargent , F. Kusi, A.D. Berry, R.A.L. Kanton and W. Pelletier. 2013. Improving marketable quality of tomato: a simulation of shipping conditions in Ghana. American Journal of Experimental Agriculture 3(2):392-402.
    • Pereira, M.E.C., S.A. Sargent, C.A. Sims, D.J. Huber, C.L. Moretti and J.H. Crane. 2013. Aqueous 1-MCP extends longevity and does not affect sensory acceptability of Guatemalan-West Indian hybrid avocado. HortTechnology 23(4): 468-473. 
    • Schiavone, D.F., A.A. Teixeira, R.A. Bucklin and S.A. Sargent. 2013. Design and performance evaluation of a solar convection dryer for drying tropical fruit. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 29(3):391-401.
    • Demir, N., A.C.O. Ferraz, S.A. Sargent and M.O. Balaban. 2011. Classification of impacted blueberries during storage using an electronic nose. J. Science of Food & Agriculture 91:1722-1727.
    • Moretti, C.L., L.M. Mattos, A.G. Calbo and S.A. Sargent. 2010. Climate changes and potential impacts on postharvest quality of fruit and vegetable crops: A review. Food Research International 43:1824-1832.
  • d) Non-refereed Papers
    • Schiavone, D.F., A.D. Berry and S.A. Sargent. 2014. Development of an Integrated System to Rinse, Sanitize and Cool Fresh-Market Strawberries. Proc. Florida State Horticulture Society (in press).
    • Liu, G., S. Sargent, B. Hogue, D. Dinkins, S. Lands and D. Johns. 2014. Optimizing Gypsum Rate for Commercial Potato Production in NE Florida. Proc. Florida State Horticulture Society (in press).
    • Carnelossi, M.A.G., S.A. Sargent and A.D. Berry. 2013. Influence of clamshell position and size on strawberry fruit cooling rate using forced-air cooling. Proc. Florida State Horticulture Society 126:196-199.
    • Makani, M. S.A. Sargent, L. Zotarelli, D.J. Huber, C.A. Sims, and J. Reyes-Cabrera. 2013. Postharvest quality of table stock potatoes in response to drip irrigation and harvest time. Proc. Florida State Horticulture Society 126:184-186.
    • Hyppolite, L., F.M. Roka, S.A. Sargent and A.A. Teixeira. 2013. Characterization of the Haitian Mango Industry. Proc. Florida State Horticulture Society 126:21-29.
    • Ozores-Hampton, M., E. Simonne, F. Roka, S. Sargent, C. Snodgrass, and E. McAvoy. 2012. Best management practices for tomato fertilization. 2012 Proc. 57th Atlantic Coast Ag. Convention & Trade Show 92-94. http://njveg.rutgers.edu/assets/pdfs/2012-AC-Proceedings.pdf.
    • Bonicet, A.J., S.A. Sargent and A. Teixeira. 2012. Adoption of plastic field crates to reduce mechanical injuries in postharvest handling of Haitian mango. Proceedings Florida State Horticulture Society 125:260-263.
    • Nunes, M.C.N., A.M.M.B. Morais, J.K. Brecht, S.A. Sargent, J.A. Bartz, R.A. Allen, J.H. Lee, D.M. Pires and J. Pittet-Moore. 2012. Occurrence of gray mold in stored strawberry fruit as affected by ripeness, temperature, and atmosphere. Proceedings Florida State Horticulture Society 125:287-294.
    • Huang, P.W., B.M. Santos, V.M. Whitaker, C.D. Stanley, and S.A. Sargent. 2012. Performance of Florida-produced containerized strawberry transplants. Proceedings Florida State Horticulture Society 125:147-149.
    • Jacomino, A.P., S.A. Sargent, A.D. Berry, and J.K. Brecht. 2011. Potential for Grading, Sanitizing, and Hydrocooling Fresh Strawberries. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc.124:221-226.
    • Brecht, J.K. and S.A. Sargent. 2011. Bell pepper bruising increases with lower temperature and higher turgidity. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc.124-2256-259.
    • Berry, A.D. and S.A. Sargent. 2010. Effect Of Postharvest Application Of 1-MCP On Basil Shoot Quality During Storage At Chilling Temperature. Proc. Florida State Hort. Society. Paper HP20.
    • Santos, B.M., T.P. Salamé-Donoso, C.K. Chandler and S.A. Sargent. 2010.Protected Culture for Vegetable and Small Fruit Crops: High Tunnels for Strawberry Production in Florida. EDIS Publ. HS1162. University of Florida/IFAS, Gainesville. 8 pp.
    • Sargent, S.A. and D.D. Treadwell. 2009. Guide for Maintaining Quality During Harvest and Handling of Organic Vegetables and Melons. EDIS Publication HS1148. University of Florida/IFAS, Gainesville.
    • Treadwell, D.D., G.J. Hochmuth, R.C. Hochmuth, E.H. Simonne, S.A. Sargent, L.L. Davis, W.L. Laughlin, A.D. Berry.  2011.  Organic Fertilization Programs for Greenhouse Fresh-cut Basil and Spearmint in a Soilless Media Trough System. HortTechnology 21(2):162-169.
    • Brecht, J.K., Sargent, S.A., Kader, A.A., Mitcham, E.A., Maul, F., Brecht, P.E., and Menocal, O. 2011. Manual de Practicas Postcosecha del Mango. Brecht, J. K. (ed.), HS1190. National Mango Board and UF/IFAS, Gainesville, FL.
    • Moretti, C.L., L.M. Mattos, A.G. Calbo, S.A. Sargent. 2010. Climate changes and potential impacts on postharvest quality of fruit and vegetable crops: A review.  Food Research International  43(7): 1824-1832.
    • Salame-Donoso, T.P., B. M. Santos, C. K. Chandler, S.A. Sargent. 2010. Effect of high tunnels on the growth, yields, and soluble solids of strawberry cultivars in Florida.  International Journal of Fruit Science 10(3): 249-263 
    • Brecht, J.K., Sargent, S.A., Kader, A.A., Mitcham, E.A., Maul, F., Brecht, P.E., and Menocal, O. 2010. Mango Postharvest Best Management Practices Manual. Brecht, J. K. (ed.), HS1185. National Mango Board and UF/IFAS, Gainesville, FL.