Blankenship named fellow of international horticulture society

Sylvia Blankenship
Sylvia Blankenship

Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, associate dean for administration for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and professor of horticulture, has been elected a Fellow of the International Society of Horticultural Science.

The society has been electing fellows since 2002, and only 10 people have been honored. Blankenship is the first person from N. C. State University to receive the honor, one of two women and one of four Americans to be elected a society fellow.

In electing Blankenship a Fellow, Dr. Norman E. Looney, society president, noted that she “is a world-class horticultural scientist whose many accomplishments during her career as a postharvest physiologist have contributed significantly to the understanding of ethylene biology in horticultural crops. Her work with ethylene action inhibitors in particular has changed the course of research in the area of fruit ripening and provided an invaluable commercial tool for postharvest management of climacteric fruit.”

Blankenship and Dr. Ed Sisler, professor of biochemistry, developed a patented method of treating fruits and vegetables that slows fruit aging, thus controlling ripening. The method, called the SmartFreshSM Quality System, is widely used, particularly with apples.

“Dr. Blankenship’s name will always be associated with the groundbreaking discovery of the ethylene action inhibitor, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). This development has had an enormous impact on postharvest science and technology, particularly commercial practice. It has brought great advantages to experimental postharvest science in allowing the control of ethylene action and so increased our understanding of ripening and senescence processes,” Looney noted.

Blankenship joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty in 1983 in the Department of Horticultural Science. She served as assistant department head from 1999 to May 2003 and as interim department head from May 2003 to October 2003. She has served as associate dean for administration for the College, first in an interim capacity and then permanently, since late 2003.

—Dave Caldwell

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