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Professor Paul Andrew Kilmartin

BA/BSc(Hons) (Well), STB (Rome), GradDipTh, MTh (Syd), PhD (Auck), LTCL, FNZIC, FNZIFST

Research | Current

My main areas of research are fairly evenly divided between wine chemistry and applications of conducting polymers with the Biocide Toolbox programme and the Polymer Electronics Research Centre, currently involving 7 PhD and 2 MSc/BSc(hons) projects and several international visitors. My main scientific training is in the area of Electrochemistry, coupled with the use of a range of Chromatographic, Spectroscopic and Surface Analysis techniques.  Several additional projects to those listed below are being undertaken in collaboration with researchers across the University of Auckland in which Electrochemical facilities are being made available, including projects on chemical sensors, organic electrosynthesis, photoelectrochemistry and development of battery materials.



  • (A) Conducting polymers as chemical sensing elements.  PEDOT and polyanilines are used as redox mediators for the determination of antioxidants in beverages, including polyphenols, ascorbic acid and SO2 in wines, grape juices, teas and milk. This work includes including collaborations with Dr Alexander Turke and Prof Wolf-Joachim Fischer of the Technical University of Dresden, a PhD project on the MBIE High Performance Sensors programme, and applications of voltammetric methods to monitoring patient disease status (with Assoc Prof Anthony Phillips of SBS).
  • (B) Conducting polymers as antioxidants. The antioxidant properties of conducting polymers has been investigated for several years after the discovery of this property at Auckland. This work provided a research theme within the ‘Hybrid Polymers’ MBIE programme, with a strong commercialisation focus, and has included the successful development of antioxidant and antimicrobial polyaniline/polyethylene blends. Further projects involve antifouling coatings for the marine industry.
  • (C) Grape tannins for biocidal applications including smart packaging. The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of grape tannins extracted from winery waste are being investigated within the current 'Biocide Toolbox’ MBIE programme. Tannin structures are also being investigated using solid state NMR, FTIR and various chromatographic methods, and involves a collaboration with the team of Dr Andrea Versari at the University of Bologna, Italy.  More recent work is focusing on biodegradable plastic options for food packaging.
  • (D) Sauvignon blanc harvesting methods. This research centres around an Auckland discovery that more intense varietal aromas are produced with machine harvesting versus hand-picking of grapes, coupled with effects of juice oxidation that can be regulated with sulfite additions at harvest. The timing of antioxidant additions are being investigated, along with novel grape maceration and pressing procedures (with Villa Maria, Constellation, and Delegats wineries). The research involves a collaboration with Assoc Prof Wessel Du Toit of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • (E) Sauvignon blanc and Pinot Gris aroma profiles.  The chemical aroma composition of both Sauvignon blanc and more recently Pinot Gris are being surveyed, to identify distinctive aroma compound profiles for New Zealand wines. Aroma modelling involving sensory panel outputs is being developed.  Aroma stability is also being examined in relation to polyphenol oxidation, including novel electrochemical approaches, while storage temperature has been identified as being of overriding importance for Marlborough Sauvignon blanc.
  • (F) Pinot noir phenolic measurement.  Methods to quantify polyphenol compounds in Pinot noir grapes and wines are being developed as part of a 5-year MBIE programme led by NZ Winegrowers on improving NZ Pinot noir production. Starting in 2018, the research involves a postdoctoral researcher and PhD student working in collaboration with Assoc Prof Roland Harrison of Lincoln University.

Postgraduate supervision

Research projects are offered in all research projects mentioned above.

Research group

PhD students 2015/18

  • Tanya Rutan - Aromas in Pinot noir from NZ regions
  • Ken Olejar - Sauvignon blanc maceration techniques
  • Leandro Dias Araujo - Sauvignon blanc harvesting trials
  • Yu Li – Grape juice oxidation enzymes
  • Charlotte Vandermeer - Active plastic materials based upon grape tannins
  • Mahsa Motshakeri - Electrochemical sensors for antioxidants in milk
  • Xiaotong Lyu - Harvesting effects on Pinot gris aroma
  • Lingdai Liu - Biodegradable antimicrobial packaging
  • Bill Yang - Phenolics in Pinot noir winemaking

MSc students

  • Annie He – Antioxidant additions to Pinot gris at harvest
  • Victoria Knotts - Sauvignon blanc sensory profiles
  • Jose Munoz Perez - Measurment of sulfur in grape juices
  • Danielle Carter - Pinot noir maceration (with Pernod Ricard)
  • Shaun Le Franco - Maceration effects on Syrah (with EIT)

International Visitors 2014/18

  • Dr Yunbin Zhang (Shanghai Institute of Technology, CHINA) - Cyclic voltammetry of essential oils
  • Dr Guangcai Niu (Heilongjiang Agricultural Univ., CHINA) - Grape fermentation trials
  • Assoc Prof Elise Champeil (John Jay College, City University of New York, USA) - NMR of wines for forensic applications
  • Dr Matteo Gatti (University Cattolica, Piacenza, ITALY) - Pinot noir vineyard manipulations
  • Jose Luis Marcon Filho (PhD student at Univ. Santa Catarina State, BRAZIL) - Sauvignon blanc from high altitudes
  • Prof Andrea Versari (University of Bologna, ITALY) - Method development for polyphenols
  • Dr Giuseppina Parpinello (University of Bologna, ITALY) - Method development for wine aroma compounds
  • Dr Ran Suo (Agricultural University of Hebei, CHINA) - Aromas in Jujube wine
  • Dr Xijuan Zhao (Southwest University, Chongqing, CHINA) - Cyclic voltammetry of citrus fruits
  • Arianna Ricci (PhD student at the University of Bologna, ITALY) - Electroanalytical method development
  • Florian Castelot (Intern student, Escom, FRANCE) – Cyclic voltammetry of grape juices
  • Francois Madec (Intern student, Rennes, FRANCE) – Chardonnay maceration trials
  • Julia Betzin (Intern student, GERMANY) – Sauvignon blanc sensory panel
  • Pauline Daniel (Intern student, FRANCE) – PEDOT microelectrodes
  • Suzanne Callerot (Intern student, FRANCE) - Sauvignon blanc harvesting trials
  • Annabel Bozon (Intern student, GERMANY) - Electrochemistry of Sauvignon blanc juices
  • Anna-Theresa Hienl (Intern student, GERMANY) - Electrochemistry of Sauvignon blanc juices
  • Veronika Barbulescu (Intern student, GERMANY) - Tannin/plastic composites
  • Philippine Armand (Intern student, FRANCE) - Sauvignon blanc harvesting trials
  • Ute Herold (MSc student, University of Bonn, GERMANY) - Sauvignon blanc wine trials
  • Tania Garrido (PhD student, BIOMAT research group, SPAIN) - Biodegradable active packaging
  • Lucia Kottgen (MSc student, University of Bonn, GERMANY) - Elemental sulfur in grape juice
  • Pete Tunbridge (MChem student, University of Southampton, GERMANY) - Electrochemistry of beverages using PEDOT electrodes

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Zhang, C., Quek, S. Y., Fu, N., Liu, B., Kilmartin, P. A., & Chen, X. D. (2019). A study on the structure formation and properties of noni juice microencapsulated with maltodextrin and gum acacia using single droplet drying. FOOD HYDROCOLLOIDS, 88, 199-209. 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2018.10.002
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Siew-Young Quek
  • Khanh, T. T., Lee, R. J., Kilmartin, P. A., Khan, M. A., Khorram, M. S., Tamm, T., & Kiefer, R. (2018). Actuation increase in polypyrrole bilayer by photo-activated dopants. Synthetic Metals, 246, 57-63. 10.1016/j.synthmet.2018.10.001
  • Jiao, Y., Kilmartin, P. A., Fan, M., & Quek, S. Y. (2018). Assessment of phenolic contributors to antioxidant activity of new kiwifruit cultivars using cyclic voltammetry combined with HPLC. Food Chemistry, 268, 77-85. 10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.06.046
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Siew-Young Quek
  • Xu, G., Jarjes, Z. A., Wang, H.-W., Phillips, A. R. J., Kilmartin, P. A., & Travas-Sejdic, J. (2018). Detection of Neurotransmitters by Three-Dimensional Laser-Scribed Graphene Grass Electrodes. ACS applied materials & interfaces10.1021/acsami.8b16692
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jadranka Travas-Sejdic
  • Granato, D., Shahidi, F., Wrolstad, R., Kilmartin, P., Melton, L. D., Hidalgo, F. J., ... Ismail, A. B. (2018). Antioxidant activity, total phenolics and flavonoids contents: Should we ban in vitro screening methods?. Food Chemistry, 264, 471-475. 10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.04.012
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Laurence Melton
  • Rutan, T. E., Herbst-Johnstone, M., & Kilmartin, P. A. (2018). Effect of Cluster Thinning Vitis vinifera cv. Pinot Noir on Wine Volatile and Phenolic Composition. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 66 (38), 10053-10066. 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b04062
  • Newair, E. F., Kilmartin, P. A., & Garcia, F. (2018). Square wave voltammetric analysis of polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity of red wines using glassy carbon and disposable carbon nanotubes modified screen-printed electrodes. European Food Research and Technology, 244 (7), 1225-1237. 10.1007/s00217-018-3038-z
  • Xu, G., Jarjes, Z. A., Desprez, V., Kilmartin, P. A., & Travas-Sejdic, J. (2018). Sensitive, selective, disposable electrochemical dopamine sensor based on PEDOT-modified laser scribed graphene. Biosensors & bioelectronics, 107, 184-191. 10.1016/j.bios.2018.02.031
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jadranka Travas-Sejdic


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 9, Room 937
New Zealand

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