Professor Philip James Harris
Research | Current
My research interests center on the study of plant cell walls. These structures play a dynamic and central role in plant growth and development, and are important in many aspects of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food science, and medicine. For example, plant cell walls are the major component of wood and are the "dietary fibre" of human foods. The cell walls of forage plants are also the main energy source for ruminant animals, and thus profoundly influence the production of dairy products, sheep meat, beef, and wool.
Current research includes
- Evolution of cell-wall polysaccharides and cell-wall phenolic components in monocotyledons, eudicotyledons, gymnosperms, ferns and bryophytes
- Cell walls of wood in relation to wood quality
- The biosynthesis of cell-wall polysaccharides, especially in gymnosperms
- Cell walls (dietary fibre) in food plants.
- Cell walls (fibre) in forages and ruminant nutrition
For these studies, we use a wide variety of modern techniques, including chemical and biochemical techniques as well as immunochemistry.
Projects suitable for postgraduate students are always available. Contact Professor Philip Harris for details.
Areas of expertise
Plant Molecular Science
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Fahey, L. M., Nieuwoudt, M. K., & Harris, P. J. (2017). Predicting the cell-wall compositions of Pinus radiata (radiata pine) wood using ATR and transmission FTIR spectroscopies. Cellulose10.1007/s10570-017-1506-4
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Leona Fahey, Michel Nieuwoudt
- Karlen, S. D., Smith, R. A., Kim, H., Padmakshan, D., Bartuce, A., Mobley, J. K., ... Ralph, J. (2017). Highly decorated lignins in leaf tissues of the Canary Island date palm Phoenix canariensis. Plant physiology10.1104/pp.17.01172
- Zhang, M., Lapierre, C., Nouxman, N. L., Nieuwoudt, M. K., Smith, B. G., Chavan, R. R., ... Harris, P. J. (2017). Location and characterization of lignin in tracheid cell walls of radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) compression woods. Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB, 118, 187-198. 10.1016/j.plaphy.2017.06.012
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ramesh Chavan, Michel Nieuwoudt, Brian McArdle
- Chen, D., Harris, P. J., Sims, I. M., Zujovic, Z., & Melton, L. D. (2017). Polysaccharide compositions of collenchyma cell walls from celery (Apium graveolens L.) petioles. BMC plant biology, 17 (1)10.1186/s12870-017-1046-y
- Harris, P. J., McQueen-Mason, S., Darley, C., Roberts, P., & Jones, L. (2017). Cell growth. In B. Thomas, D. Murphy, B. Murray (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences (pp. 155-160). Oxford: Elsevier. 10.1016/B978-0-12-394807-6.00118-0
- Harris, P. J. (2017). Nonwood fibers. In B. Thomas, D. Murphy, B. Murray (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences (pp. 198-202). Oxford: Elsevier. 10.1016/B978-0-12-394807-6.00113-1
- Lan, W., Rencoret, J., Lu, F., Karlen, S. D., Smith, B. G., Harris, P. J., ... Ralph, J. (2016). Tricin-lignins: occurrence and quantitation of tricin in relation to phylogeny. Plant Journal, 88 (6), 1046-1057. 10.1111/tpj.13315
- Karlen, S. D., Zhang, C., Peck, M. L., Smith, R. A., Padmakshan, D., Helmich, K. E., ... Lu, F. (2016). Monolignol ferulate conjugates are naturally incorporated into plant lignins. Science Advances, 2 (10).10.1126/sciadv.1600393