Dole Food Company is sponsoring banana and pineapple PhD programmes in partnership with NC State University (NCSU), the NC Research Campus (NCRC) and the Costa Rican government and universities, a news release from NC Research Campus has revealed.
The foundation was laid for the new doctoral programmes in meetings held between NCRC researchers, Dole scientists from Central and South America and representatives of the University of Costa Rica, the National Center for Science and Food Technology, the University of Costa Rica Agricultural Research Center, EARTH University and the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE).
Nicholas Gillitt, PhD, Dole vice-president of nutrition research and Dole Nutrition Institute director, emphasised that Dole’s sponsorship pays for the candidates' education at NCSU and for their leadership role in the NCRC’s Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP), an internship researching blueberry, broccoli, oat, strawberry and, in 2016, banana and pineapple.
“Our visiting Dole scientists and the representatives from Costa Rica both learned the true value of the P2EP programme, and how we can collaborate on the development of new banana and pineapple varieties, a critical goal for Dole and Costa Rica,” Gillitt said.
Costa Rican universities have two months to nominate candidates qualified to study metabolic pathways producing nutritionally important phytochemical compounds in banana varieties as well as traits of disease resistance and drought tolerance.
The PhD programmes are the first result of a research and education agreement established in May 2015 by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis and David Murdock, NCRC founder and Castle & Cooke and Dole Food Company CEO and owner.