Dr Peter E. H. Minchin, Senior Scientist, HortResearch, is recognised internationally for his elegant, innovative experiments and scholarly contributions to theoretical understanding of the mechanisms that control solute flow in plants. He has combined his skills in medical physics, biology and mathematics to pioneer the measurement and interpretation of phloem transport in living plants using the short-lived isotope 11C as a tracer. He and his colleagues have produced important new models of plant function and he is now leading the development of mechanistic models to explain the partitioning of photosynthate between competing plant organs.
Peter Minchin is author of more than 99 highly cited (>1400 citations) scientific papers, reports and book chapters, and he is on the Advisory Editorial Board of the international Journal of Experimental Botany. By developing models of fruit growth that are widely used to predict crop volumes and harvest maturity, he has made significant contributions to New Zealand horticulture, particularly our apple and kiwifruit industries. The calibre of his research is acknowledged in a Ministerial Award for Excellence in Scientific Research (1989) and in awards from the New Zealand Society of Physiologists (inaugural Outstanding Physiologist Award, 2001, with M. R. Thorpe), and a ‘best paper’ award from the journal, Functional Biology (2005).