Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez

Assistant Professor – Extension Specialist

Academic Degrees

Lic. (2000) Food Science, University of Costa Rica
M.S. (2007) Horticulture, University of California Davis
M.S. (2012) Soils and Biogeochemistry, University of California Davis
Ph.D. (2012) Horticulture, University of California Davis

Research Interests

The main goal of the NC Fresh Produce Safety Laboratory is to generate science based information within Fresh Produce preharvest to postharvest environments that can assist growers, packers, shippers and food handlers in reducing the risk of contamination with human pathogens along the production chain. Additionally we look to assist these individuals in the implementation of GAPs, commodity specific guidelines and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) related issues. Our laboratory approaches research from an applied perspective and moves into basic research when necessary looking to answer food safety and production practices needs.

We are interested in elucidating how antropogenic systems influence persistence and survival of human pathogens in pre to postharvest environments and what applied mitigation strategies can be introduce to reduce the risk of Fresh Produce or Fresh Cut contamination. Our approach is a combination of standard microbiological techniques, horticultural and postharvest practices, and next generation sequencing technologies to study the microbial ecology of human pathogens in organic and conventional farm to fork systems. Applications include: – Studying the interactions of commensal microorganisms in packing house environments with the potential presence of human pathogens. €“ How microbial diversity and management practices influence human pathogen persistence in the soil-plant-water interface. €“ How aerosol movement may impact redistribution and establishment of human pathogens within diversified farming systems or packing houses. €“ How endophytic or epiphytic microorganisms mixed with the morphological characteristics of Fresh Produce may impact colonization, attachment and persistence of human pathogens and – The use of postharvest techniques to asses Fresh Produce quality and safety. All of these approaches will provide insight into the systems biology of human pathogens and will generate applied information and approaches to reduce Fresh Produce safety risks.

Areas of Research

• Preharvest to Postharvest Fresh Produce Safety.
• Microbial Ecology of Human Pathogen in Ag-environments.
• Aerosols on Farms, Packing and Processing Facilities (Microbial distribution and Safety)
• Microbial water quality in ag-environments

Extension Services

• Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs),
• On-farm risk assessment training
• HACCP and Juice HACCP
• Sanitation and Recall training
• Pre and Postharvest handling of Fresh Produce with Food Safety in min.
• Fresh Produce Safety Certificate Program

Teaching Activities

FS406-506 Food Microbiology Laboratory.