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2016 Péter Murányi Prize

Outstanding research

The USP Food Research Center studied the ripening process of fruits such as banana and papaya

LÉO RAMOSThe USP Food Research Center studied the ripening process of fruits such as banana and papayaLÉO RAMOS

The 2016 Péter Murányi Prize went to a study concerning the genetic and metabolic mechanisms of fruit led by Professor Franco Maria Lajolo of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of São Paulo (FCF-USP).  The study pinpoints the pathways used to convert starches to sugar and identifies the enzymes that break down the cell walls, altering the texture of the fruit.  Some of the research was carried out at laboratories of the Food Research Center (FoRC), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDC) funded by FAPESP.  The study has “great social impact, because it reduces fruit-loss rates after harvest, thus maintaining very high standards of quality,” explains Zilda Vera Murányi Kiss, Péter Murányi foundation president and prize coordinator for the past 14 years.  Awarded annually, the prize recognizes and rewards studies for improving the quality of life in developing countries in fields such as education, health, nutrition and science and technology development.  “The work keeps up a dialog with important issues, such as waste and food security and the prize is important because it represents an opportunity for encouraging young researchers to work in the field of nutrition,” says Lajolo, who shared the R$200,000 prize with colleagues Beatriz Rosana Cordenunsi and João Roberto Oliveira do Nascimento, both from FCF-USP.  “We’re one of the few groups of researchers that study the process of fruit ripening,” says Cordenunsi.