Staff Profile

Dr Ian Ferguson
Chief Scientist, Senior Management Team

More information about our research

Dr Ian Ferguson


BSc (Hons), University of Auckland, New Zealand
PhD, University of Auckland, New Zealand
T.F.Lancaster Prize in Botany
Postharvest Fellowship, University of California, Davis, United States of America

Research Interests & Activities

  • Pre- and postharvest physiology of fruit
  • Calcium physiology, calcium-related storage disorders, and mineral nutrition of developing fruit
  • Physiology and biochemistry of calcium in plant cells, particularly the role of calcium as a second messenger in mediating responses of plant cells to external stimuli
  • Programmed cell death in plants
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology of plant senescence, particularly in relation to the control of senescence and calcium
  • Physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of the response of plants and fruits to stress
  • Fruit genomics; plant biotechnology

Honours & Awards

Member, New Zealand Order of Merit
Fellow, Royal Society of New Zealand
Recipient of Science & Technology Medal, Royal Society New Zealand
Life member, NZ Society of Plant Physiologists
Guang-Biao Visiting Professor of Zhejiang University
Member, Science Advisory Committee, Vineland Research & Innovation Center, Ontario, Canada
1999-2003 Member, Marsden Fund Council
1999-2003 Convenor, Marsden Fund Council Panel for Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Physiology
2000 Visiting Professor, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, PR China

Professional Memberships

Member of the NZ Society of Plant Physiology
Member of the International Society for Horticultural Science, member of the Postharvest Commission
Member of the NZ Society for Horticultural Science

Key Publications

Ferguson IB 1984 Calcium in plant senescence and fruit ripening. Plant Cell Environ 10: 477-489.
Drøbak BK, Ferguson IB 1985 Release of Ca2+ from plant hypocotyl microsomes by inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 130: 1241-1246.
Ferguson IB, Watkins CB 1989 Bitter pit in apple fruit. Hortic Rev 11: 289-355.
Veierskov B, Ferguson IB 1991 Conjugation of ubiquitin to proteins in green plant tissues. Plant Physiol 96: 4-9.
O’Brien IEW, Murray BG, Baguley BC, Morris BAM, Ferguson IB 1998 Major changes in chromatin condensation are indicative of apoptosis in plant cells. Exptl Cell Res, 241, 46-54.
O’Brien IEW, Murray BG, Baguley BC, Morris BAM, Ferguson IB 1998 Early stages of apoptosis in plant cells are reversible. Plant Journal, 13: 803-814.
Ferguson IB, Snelgar W, Lay-Yee M, Watkins CB, Bowen JH 1998 Heat shock response in apple fruit in the field. Aust J Plant Physiol, 25: 155-163.
Wang CY, Bowen, JH, Weir, IE, Allan AC, Ferguson IB 2001 Heat-induced protection against death of suspension-cultured apple fruit cells exposed to low temperature. Plant Cell Environ 24, 1199-1207.
Ferguson IB, Thorp TG, Boyd LM, Barnett AM, Triggs CM 2003 Relationships between inorganic nutrient concentrations and physiological pitting in ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit. J Hortic Sci Biotechnol 78, 497-504.
Chen KS, Xu CJ, Zhang B, Ferguson IB 2003 Red bayberry: botany and horticulture. Hortic Rev 30, 83-114.
Wünsche J, Ferguson IB 2004 Crop load interactions in apple. Hortic Rev 31, 231-290.
Woolf AB, Bowen JH, Ball S, Durand S, Laidlaw W, Ferguson IB 2004 Loss of benefits from a heat pretreatment in reducing damage at high and low temperatures in storage of avocado fruit. Postharvest Biol Technol 34, 143-153.
Volz RK, Alspach PA, Fletcher DJ, Ferguson IB 2006 Genetic variation in bitter pit and fruit calcium concentrations within a diverse apple germplasm collection. Euphytica 149, 1-10.
Zhang B, Chen KS, Bowen J, Allan A, Espley R, Karunairetnam S, Ferguson I 2006 Differential expression within the LOX gene family in ripening kiwifruit. J Exp Bot 57, 3837-3845.
Buxton KN, Clearwater MJ, Giles-Hansen K, Hewett EW, Ferguson IB 2007 Comparison of xylem sap mineral concentrations between kiwifruit shoot types using spittlebugs non-destructive sampling of sap. Functional Plant Biol 34, 1029-1037.
Shan L, Li X, Wang P, Cai C, Zhang B, Sun C, Zhang W, Xu C, Ferguson I, Chen K 2008 Characterization of lignification-related cDNAs and their expression profiles in loquat fruit with different lignin accumulation. Planta 227, 1243-1254.
Yin X, Chen K, Allen AC, Wu R, Zhang B, Lallu N, Ferguson IB 2008 Ethylene-induced modulation of genes associated with the ethylene signalling pathway in ripening kiwifruit. J Exp Bot 59, 2097-2108.
Polapol Y, Ketsa K, Lin-Wang K, Ferguson IB, Allan AC 2009 A mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L.) MYB transcription factor regulates anthocyanin biosynthesis during fruit ripening and after harvest. Planta 229, 1323-1334.
Yin X, Allan AC, Chen K, Ferguson IB 2010 Kiwifruit EIL and ERF genes involved in regulating fruit ripening. Plant Physiol In press.

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