Prof. Willis O. Owino

Address:                                  P.O. BOX 62000-00200, Nairobi.
Office Extension number:    1972
Office address:                        ALB 111



University Education

Period Institution Achievement Subject
2012 University of Missouri, Columbia, USA Visiting Faculty Fellow Food Science
2011 RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia Research Fellow Food Science & Technology
2004-2007 Gene Research Centre, Tsukuba Postdoctoral Fellow under Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Plant Biotechnology
2001-2004 Okayama University, Japan PhD Postharvest Biology and Tech.
1998-2001 Okayama University, Japan M.Sc. Bioscience Systems
1992-1995 JKUAT B.Sc. Food Science and Postharvest Tech.


Responsibilities and Positions Held

Period Position Institution
Current Director, Production and Innovations-RPE Division JKUAT
Associate Professor JKUAT
2014-2018 Manager, Food Technology Centre (FOTEC) JKUAT
2013 Ag CEO, Sorghum Value Chain Development Consortium (SVCDC) Limited JKUAT
2008-2010 Examination Coordinator JKUAT


Research and Teaching Areas

  1. Postharvest Biology, Technology, processing and value addition of indigenous and locally available specific food crops.
  2. Exploitation of indigenous vegetables and fruits to address the triple burden of malnutrition among vulnerable groups.


Selected Research Projects

  1. Project Name: Russeting in ‘Apple Mango’: Causes, consequences and management
    Duration: 2020-Ongoing
    Goal: Identify the mechanistic basis of the russet development in ‘Apple’ mango in Kenya.
    Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
  2. Project Name: Quality Improvement and More Efficient Utilization of Products Derived From the Baobab Tree (Adansonia Digitata L.) To Enhance Food Security and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (BAOQUALITY)
    Duration: 2019-Ongoing
    Goal: Develop appropriate solutions to improve quality and safety of baobab food products, reduce post-harvest losses, and better utilize residues or side streams.
    Funding: The German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE).
  3. Project Name: Synergistic Climate-Smart Technologies, Innovations and Management Practices for Sustainable Tomato Production in Kenya
    Duration: 2019-2021
    Goal: Validation and scaling up of sustainable tomato production and postharvest Technologies, Innovations and Management Practices to enhance food and nutritional security and incomes for smallholder farmers
    Funding: The Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP), funded by the World Bank Through KALRO
  4. Project Name: Evaluation and Utilization of Climate Smart Solanaceae Bio-resources Collected in Japan and Kenya
    Duration: 2019-2021
    Goal: Leverage the Japan and Africa Solanaceae bioresource collections by investigating the production and postharvest quality characteristics of selected Solanaceae accessions
    Funding: NACOSTI, Kenya and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) bilateral research grant
  5. Project Name: Small-Scale Community Biorefining of Sorghum for Food, Sugar, and Biomaterials in Rain Fed Areas of Eastern Africa.
    Duration: 2018-2021
    Goal: Pilot a small-scale community bio-refinery focusing on high value bio-based products from sweet sorghum
    Funding: BioInnovate Africa Programme (BAP) Phase II supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)


Selected Research Publications

  1. Mwaniki, M.W., Mitalo, O.W., Mworia, E.G., Owino, W.O., Hiwasa-Tanase, K., Rose, J.K., Aoki, K., Esumi, T., Kawai, T., Nakano, R. and Ushijima, K., 2021. Combined signal sequence trap and macroarray analysis identifies genes associated with differential fruit softening characteristics during ripening in European and Chinese pears. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 174, p.111436.
  2. Yumbya, P., Ambuko, J., Hutchinson, M., Owino, W., Juma, J., Machuka, E. and Mutuku, J.M., 2021. Transcriptome analysis to elucidate hexanal’s mode of action in preserving the post-harvest shelf life and quality of banana fruits (Musa acuminata). Journal of Agriculture and Food Research, p.100114. DOI: DOI:
  3. Isaac, N., Owino, W., Ambuko, J. and Imathiu, S., 2021. Moisture sorption properties of two varieties of dehydrated mango slices as determined by gravimetric method using Guggenheim–Anderson–de Boer model. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 45(1), p.e15041. DOI:
  4. Gathambiri CW, Owino WO, Imathiu S and Mbaka JN. 2021. Postharvest Losses of Bulb Onion (Allium Cepa L.) In Selected Sub-Counties of Kenya. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition & Development.
  5. Evang, E.C., Habte, T.Y., Owino, W.O. and Krawinkel, M.B., 2020. Can the supplementary consumption of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) fruit pulp improve the hemoglobin levels and iron status of schoolchildren in Kenya? Findings of a randomized controlled intervention trial. European Journal of Nutrition, Dec 23 pp.1-13. DOI:
  6. Ochieng, B.A., Owino, W.O., Kinyuru, J.N., Mburu, J.N. and Gicheha, M.G., 2020. Effect of low tannin sorghum based feeds on broiler meat nutritional quality. Journal of Agriculture and Food Research, 2, p.100078. DOI:
  7. Tembe, K., Lagat, S., Ambuko, J., Chemining’wa, G. and Owino, W., 2020. Variation in Morphological and Agronomic Traits of Selected African Eggplant Accessions. Journal of Medicinally Active Plants, 9(2), pp.34-46. DOI:
  8. Grundy, M.M., Momanyi, D.K., Holland, C., Kawaka, F., Tan, S., Salim, M., Boyd, B.J., Bajka, B., Mulet-Cabero, A.I., Bishop, J. and Owino, W.O., 2020. Effects of grain source and processing methods on the nutritional profile and digestibility of grain amaranth. Journal of Functional Foods, 72, p.104065.
  9. Mosenda, E., Chemining’wa, G., Ambuko, J. and Owino, W., 2020. Assessment of Agronomic Traits of Selected Spider Plant (Cleome gynandra L.) Accessions. Journal of Medicinally Active Plants, 9(4), pp.222-241. DOI:
  10. Wanjeri, N., Owino, W., Kyallo, F., Habte, T.Y. and Krawinkel, M.B., 2020. Accessibility, availability and consumption of baobab during food emergencies in Kitui and Kilifi counties in Kenya. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition & Development, 20(5). DOI:
  11. Mosenda, E., Chemining’wa, G., Ambuko, J. and Owino, W., 2020. Effect of Water Stress on Growth and Yield Components of Selected Spider Plant Accessions. Journal of Medicinally Active Plants, 9(2), pp.81-97. DOI:
  12. Cheptoo, G., Owino, W. and Kenji, G., 2020. Effect of Different Packaging Materials on Nutritional Stability of Minimally Processed African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables. Journal of Medicinally Active Plants, 9(2), pp.98-110.
  13. Evang, E.C.; Habte, T.-Y.; Owino, W.O.; Krawinkel, M.B. 2020.The Nutritional and Micronutrient Status of Urban Schoolchildren with Moderate Anemia is Better than in a Rural Area in Kenya. Nutrients, 12, 207. DOI:
  14. Bitange, N.M., Chemining’wa, G.N., Ambuko, J. and Owino, W.O., 2020. Can calcium sprays alleviate jelly seed in mango fruits? Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics (JARTS), 121(1), pp.35-42. doi:10.17170/kobra-202002281032.
  15. Momanyi, D., Owino, W. and Makokha, A., 2020. Formulation, nutritional and sensory evaluation of baobab based ready-to-eat sorghum and cowpea blend snack bars. Scientific African, 7, p.e00215.