Penelope Perkins-Veazie

Penelope Perkins-Veazie
Postharvest Physiologist, Professor
Department of Horticultural Science

Ph.D., University of Florida
M.S., University of Florida
B.S., University of Maine

Dr. Penny Perkins-Veazie heads research on postharvest physiology and technology for fruits and vegetables for North Carolina State University. Her research involves storage methods to extend shelf life, collaborative studies to determine fruit and vegetable roles in human health, storage technologies to enhance functional food compounds, and the identification and quantification of health-related compounds in fruits and vegetables and from production systems. She also evaluates food safety, quality and consumer-appeal characteristics such as fla­vor, color, antioxidants and texture to make sure growers will have better quality fruits and vegetables for high-value markets.

Watch a video introduction of Dr. Perkins-Veazie and her research.

Publications | Lab Staff | Projects | Resources


Tomato: Determining the carotenoids in tomato breeding lines for the N.C. State tomato breeding program. The goal of this breeding effort is to double the current amount of lycopene found in tomatoes. Lycopene, a pigment found in only a few fruits, is a powerful inactivator of free radicals that can result from aging and chronic disease. She is also studying the other pigments found in yellow and orange tomatoes. At least one of these, prolycopene, is thought to be more bioaccessible in humans than lycopene.

Strawberry: Evaluating and extending the shelf life for strawberries grown in field or tunnels when picked closer to full ripeness than typical harvest stage. In addition, Perkins-Veazie’s lab is working to develop methods for rapid screening of sugars, acids, flavor and antioxidants so breeders can use this data to better tailor breeding objectives to fit consumer desires.

Blackberry: Evaluating N.C. selections and the effects of production methods (tunnels and organic systems, for example) on shelf life and quality. She is also working to determine which varieties contain consistently high amounts of targeted antioxidant compounds and to subsequently develop delivery methods for their use in clinical trials.

Watermelon: Working on two collaborative projects that directly utilize watermelon to address human health concerns. One is a project to demonstrate how DNA is protected from ultraviolet light by lycopene in the red pigment in watermelon. The second, in conjunction with Florida State University, is looking at a watermelon powder containing the amino acid citrulline that is utilized as a drink to lower arterial blood pressure. In addition, Perkins-Veazie is working with N.C. State and U.S. watermelon breeders to evaluate grafted watermelons for improved shelf life, fresh cut life, and lycopene and amino acid content.

Green vegetables: Lutein, a carotenoid found in green vegetables, is known to be effective in maintaining eye health. The traditional method for verifying lutein involves expensive and time-consuming high performance liquid chromatography. However, work in Perkins-Veazie’s lab indicates that free lutein can be accurately estimated by measuring chlorophyll content. She is testing correlations within and across various crops, both to document amounts of lutein among varieties and crops, and to devise rapid methods for estimating lutein for incorporation into breeding programs.


Bradish, C.M., Perkins-Veazie, P., Fernandez, G.E., Jia, W. and Xie, G. 2011. Comparison of flavonoid composition of red raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) grown in the southern U.S. using targeted metabolite analysis. J. Agric. Food Chem. (in press)

Davis, A., Levi, A., Russo, V., Perkins-Veazie, P. and King, S. 2011. Chlorophyll-a micro component of watermelon flesh. HortScience. (in press)

Clark, J. R. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2011. 'APF-45' Primocane-fruiting blackberry. HortScience. 46(4): 670-673

Figueroa, A., Sanchez-Gonzalez, M.A., Perkins-Veazie, P.M. and Arjmandi, B.H. 2011. Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic blood pressure and wave reflection in individuals with prehypertension: A pilot study. American Journal of Hypertension. 24(1): 40-44

Edgar L. Vinson III, Floyd M. Woods, Joseph M. Kemble, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Angela Davis and J. Raymond Kessler. 2010. Use of external indicators to predict maturity of mini-watermelon fruit. HortScience. 45(7): 1034-1037

Davis, A., Collins, J.K., Perkins-Veazie, P. and Levi, Amnon. 2008. LSW-177 and LSW-194; Red-fleshed watermelon lines with low total soluble solids. Hortscience. (In press)

Davis, A.R., Perkins-Veazie, P., Hassell, R., Levi, A., King, S.R. and Zhang, X.-P. 2008. Grafting effects on vegetable quality. Hortscience. (In press)

Davis, A.R., Perkins-Veazie, P., Sakata, Y., López-Galarza, S., Maroto, J.V., Lee, S.-G. , Huh, Y.-C., Sun, Z., Miguel, A., King, S.R., Cohen, R., Lee, J.-M. 2008. Cucurbit grafting. Critical Reviews in Plant Science. (In press)

Perkins-Veazie, P. and Collins, J.K. 2008. UV treatment prevents blueberry decay. Postharvest Biol. Technol. 47: 280-285

Moore, P., Perkins-Veazie, P., Weber, C.A. and Howard, L. 2008. Environmental effect on antioxidant content of ten raspberry cultivars. Acta Hortic. 777: 499-503

Weber, C.A., Perkins-Veazie, P., Moore, P. and Howard, L. 2008. Variability of antioxidant content in raspberry germplasm. Acta Hortic. 777: 493-498

Taber, H., Perkins-Veazie, P., White, W., Li, S., Rodermel, S. and Xu, Y. 2008. Enhancement of Tomato fruit lycopene by potassium is cultivar dependent. HortScience. 43: 159-165

Perkins-Veazie, P. and Lester, G. 2008. Postharvest challenges for organically grown orchard fruit. HortScience. 43: 35-37

Wu, G., Collins, J.K., Perkins-Veazie, P.M., Siddiq, M., Dolan, K.D., Kelly, K.A., Heaps, C.L. and Meininger, C.J. 2007. Dietary supplementation with watermelon pomace ameliorates the metabolic syndrome in zucker diabetic fatty rats. Nutrition. 137: 2680-2685

Perkins-Veazie, P., Collins, J.K., Clevidence, B. and Wu, G. 2007. Watermelons and health. Acta Hortic. 731: 121-127

Collins, J.K., Wu, G., Perkins-Veazie, P., Spears, K., Claypool, P.L., Baker, R.A. and Clevidence, B.A. 2007. Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults. Nutrition. 23: 261-266

Perkins-Veazie, P., Roberts, W. and Collins, J.K. 2007. Lycopene content among organically produced tomatoes. J. Vegetable Sci. 12: 93-106

Davis, A.R., Webber III, C. L. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2007. Impact of cultivar and production practices on yield and phytonutrient content of organically grown watermelon. J. Vegetable Sci. 12: 83-91

Davis, A. R., Collins, J., Fish, W. W., Tadmor, Y., Webber III, C. L. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2007. Rapid method for total carotenoid detection in canary yellow-fleshed watermelon. J. Food Sci. 72: S319-S323

Perkins-Veazie, P. 2007. Carotenoids in watermelon and mango. Acta Hortic. 746: 259-264

Perkins-Veazie, P., Collins, J.K., Davis, A.R. and Roberts, B.W. 2006. Carotenoid content of 50 watermelon cultivars. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54: 2593-2597

Takeda, F., Perkins-Veazie, P., Swartz, H.J., and Hokanson, S. 2006. Strawberry transplant production and performance in annual plasticulture system. Acta Hort. 708: 213-216

Collins, J.K., Davis, A.R., Adams, A., Maness, N. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2006. Consumer acceptability of low sugar watermelon sweetened with non-calorie sweetener by a Native American community. Intl. J. Food Sci. Nutrition. 57: 363-368

Collins, J.K. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2006. Lycopene: From plants to humans. HortScience. 41: 1135-1144

Perkins-Veazie, P. and Collins, J.K. 2006. Carotenoid changes of intact watermelons after storage. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54: 5868-5874

Black, B.L., I. M. Fordham, P. Perkins-Veazie. 2005. Autumnberry (Elaeagnus umbellate): a potential cash crop. J. Amer. Pomological Soc. 59: 125-134

Rimando, A.M. and P. Perkins-Veazie. 2005. Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind. J. Chrom. A. 1078: 196-200

Clark, J.R., Moore, J.N., Lopez-Medina, J., Finn, C. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2005. ‘Prime-Jan’ (‘APF-8') and ‘Prime-Jim’ (‘APF-12') Primocane-Fruiting Blackberries. HortScience. 40: 852-855

Clark, J.R., Moore, J.N. and Perkins-Veazie, P. 2005. ‘White Rock’ and ‘White County’ Peaches. HortScience. 40: 856-858

Lab Staff

Guoying "Jenny" Ma

Joyce O'Neal

Christine Bradish

Moo Jung Kim


Postharvest Overview

Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo (Nov. 26-28, 2012)

Postharvest Cooling Presentation Materials


Leveraging Postharvest Cooling Practices as Marketing Tools for Farming Operations (PDF)

The marketing portion of the session as presented by Justin Moore, Extension Communications with PHHI. Covers marketing concepts, why marketing applies to postharvest practices and how to leverage postharvest practices to better market a farming business.

Determine Your Cooling Needs and Tweaking Technology for Affordable Systems (PDF)

Jonathan Baros, Farm and Agribusiness Management with the Extension component of PHHI, reviews postharvest cooling system options ranging from the more cost-efficient, do-it-yourself units to heavy-duty rental units that cool produce on a much larger scale.


Postharvest Cooling Units Overview (PDF)

This handout provides costs, specs and other pertinent details for a variety of refrigeration systems, ranging from N.C. State's do-it-yourself Pack 'N Cool trailer to a 20-foot refrigerated container that can hold 60,000 lbs.

Pack 'N Cool Materials & Resources

Find the Pack 'N Cool Construction Manual with photos, step-by-step instructions, a materials list and a sample budget. Also available are a summary construction video and a detailed budget.

N.C. Muscadine Brochure (PDF)

A tri-fold brochure that introduces the muscadine while touting the health benefits and educating the reader about appearance, taste and how to eat one.

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