Florence Zakharov

Florence Zakharov

Position Title
Assistant Professor

Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

1057 Wickson Hall Davis, CA 95616

Research Interests

Plant Volatile Metabolism

Our research focuses on understanding plant volatile metabolism in the context of 1) aroma development in fruits and vegetables, and 2) plant defense mechanisms against pests.Although much progress has been made in achieving and maintaining good appearance quality of fruits and vegetables, there is a general consensus that flavor quality is "the last frontier". Repeat purchases are often prevented due to consumer’s dissatisfaction with product flavor quality. Flavor, defined as the combined sensation derived from taste and aroma, is a complex trait that is still poorly understood at analytical, biochemical and molecular levels. Our research investigates how volatile compounds (which confer the aroma of fruits and vegetables) are formed during fruit development and ripening, and how postharvest storage conditions affect their production. Volatiles also serve as the plant’s interface with the environment, and have been shown to play important roles in protecting plants against herbivores or pathogens. Understanding defense-related volatile biosynthesis could open new avenues for harnessing plant natural defenses against pests.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Agronomy and Horticulture
  • Plant Biology

Specialties / Focus

  • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Genomics


  • PLS 100A Metabolic Processes of Cultivated Plants, I
  • PLS 172 Postharvest Physiology and Technology, I
  • PLS 173 Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Postharvest Biology, III
  • PLS 212 Postharvest Biology and Biotechnology of Fruits and Nuts, III


  • 2005 Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Purdue University
  • 2000 M.Sc. Biotechnology and Plant Breeding Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Toulouse (France)