Tag Archives: Australian

Reframing the food agenda: Setting the scene for Australia

As a global provider of food, Australia’s agricultural producers, food industry, researchers and Governments need to make policy, R&D and investment decisions to ensure our food sectors remain productive, competitive and sustainable into the future. Is food security really the most pressing issue for Australian agricultural policy? Are there other issues facing Australia’s agricultural and food industries that demand greater policy attention?

The Waite Research Institute is sponsoring the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society(AARES) event “Reframing the food agenda: Setting the scene for Australia” to be held on the 19th of August, 2011 at the Waite Campus in Adelaide. The program features an impressive list of both international and Australian experts.

For more information and registration visit http://foodagenda.eventbrite.com

The program .pdf can also be found at the AARES website.

ACPFG Promotes: Peter Langridge on Radio National ‘Australia Talks’ TONIGHT 6pm.

Australia Talks Interview: Food Security

Food prices have hit an all-time high this year, according to the United Nations. In fact anger over sharp hikes in the price of food staples helped spark the bloody riots in the Middle East this year, as well as protests in India. So are we at the verge of a new food crisis? And could that have implications for global stability?

You will find a brief blurb about the interview on the Australia Talks website at:

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/australiatalks/stories/2011/3172871.htm

The show airs at 6pm.

The telephone number if you wish to be a caller on the show is 1300 22 55 76.

The show airs on:

Adelaide 729AM | Brisbane 792AM | Canberra 846AM Darwin 657AM |
Gold Coast
90.1FM | Hobart 585AM Melbourne 621AM | Newcastle 1512AM
Perth 810AM | Sydney 576AM

Regards,

Amanda Hudswell
Communications Manager – Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics Pty Ltd
Skype address : amanda.hudswell1
www.acpfg.com.au

Plant Genomics Centre, Hartley Grove, Urrbrae SA 5064
Postal address : PMB 1, Glen Osmond South Australia 5064
Ph : 08 8303 7230 or : 0400 322 272

Tim March and Matteo Marangon – 2011 Science & Innovation Awards for Young People

Dr Tim March

Dr Tim March

Each year the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry supports Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. These awards recognise innovative scientific projects proposed by 18-35 year olds that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries.

This year eleven scientists from across Australia were successful and the awards were presented at the ABARES Outlook Conference Dinner in Canberra on Tuesday 1 March. Of the eleven awards, two were to scientists from the Waite Campus.

Dr Timothy March of the Barley Group in the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine won the Grains Research and Development Corporation Award, and Dr Matteo Marangon from the Australian Wine Research Institute won the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation Award. The awards are worth up to $22,000.

Tim March has been instrumental in the development of a new genotyping assay called Hi-SELECT, intended to be an open-source, user-customisable assay, capable of genotyping up to 386 plants with 1526 genetic markers simultaneously. He will use his award to present his findings at the 2011 Barley Technical Symposium in September and internationally at the 2012 Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego in January 2012.

Matteo Marangon is working on developing a better understanding of the cause of protein haze formation in white wines, thereby allowing wine makers to refine and reduce their use of betonite fining in the winemaking process, leading to more economically and environmentally sustainable practices. Working with a French laboratory, Matteo will use his award to examine the interactions between proteins and other components responsible for forming protein haze, and to develop a predictive model for protein instability in white wines. He will share his findings through publication in scientific and industry journals, and through the AWRI Road Show.

Congratulations to both of these fine scientists on their recognition through these prestigious awards.

Patent to be granted for salinity tolerance technology

The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics’ first patent application has been accepted for grant in Eurasia.  The patent covers salinity tolerance in plants and applies in Turkmenistan, Belarus, Tajikistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and the Moldova regions.

The technology was invented by ACPFG scientists Mark Tester, Andrew Jacobs, Juan Juttner, Alfio Comis and Christina Lunde (now of the University of Copenhagen).

The patent is for a protein that sits in a plant cell’s outer membrane and pumps sodium ions from the cell, thus improving the plants salinity tolerance.

‘The patent demonstrates that ACPFG research is not only world standard from a scientific perspective, but it also passes the difficult requirements for patentability,’ commented CEO, Professor Peter Langridge. ‘Some of our other patent filings will also be granted this year.’

‘Salinity is a problem in many parts of the world and a major cause of crop loss in much of the developing world,’ he said. ‘Eurasia is a major crop growing region and also suffers from salinity problems.’

Patent applications for 30 technologies have been filed by the ACPFG since it commenced in 2003.  Many of these are working their way through the patent systems in various regions.

‘This technology is still many years away from commercial production but this first patent is a significant achievement for ACPFG’ said Michael Gilbert, ACPFG’s General Manager.

ACPFG has over 130 staff and students and has published 240 peer-reviewed journal articles focused on improving the ability of wheat and barley to withstand abiotic stresses such as drought and salinity.

‘Gene patents are currently controversial but they are an important tool in biological sciences,’ Mr Gilbert said. ‘Whilst patents are expensive and difficult to get, they enable us to protect the interests of Australian scientists and growers.’

‘Patents are an asset that we can use to deal with large multi-national companies in the area of agricultural biotechnology,’ he said.

ACPFG retains Philips Ormond Fitzpatrick as patent advisors.

AusBiotech 2010

The WRI and Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) were recently represented on the BioInnovation SA stand at Australia’s national AusBiotech 2010 conference in Melbourne 19 – 22 October.

Chia Barlow, Executive Officer from the WRI and Amanda Hudswell, Communications Manager for ACPFG attended the 4 day annual event which focuses on creating biotechnology solutions for the world.

The 2011 conference will be held in Adelaide SA.

For more information please visit http://www.ausbiotech.org

Improving Nitrogen and Phosphorus use of cereals to help food security

Friday 24th September marks the final day of the 15th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology, and is a feature day for the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG). In particular the day will highlight work at the Centre into the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of cereal
plants.

‘Given the environmental effects associated with production and usage of nitrogen fertilisers, and the suggestion that we may be approaching peak phosphorus, increased food production will require crops that use fertilisers more efficiently, that is, we need to increase the nutrient use efficiency of crops,’ said Dr Trevor Garnett, NUE researcher at ACPFG

Nutrient use efficiency researchers from around the world will meet on the Friday at the National Wine Centre to discuss their research and strategies for international collaboration to address this problem.

‘Currently the demand for food is close to the limits of what we can produce, but by 2050 it is suggested that we will need to increase food production by 60% according to a 2008 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations report,’ he said.

Nitrogen (N) is one of the biggest input costs for farmers and the price is increasing because of the power used to industrially fix N from the atmosphere. Approximately 2 % of the world’s energy is used to produced N fertiliser; this causes a considerable greenhouse gas contribution.

‘Over 100 million tonnes of Nitrogen fertiliser is applied to crops each year and 60% of this on cereals,’ said Dr Garnett. ‘Given the costs and environmental effects associated with production and usage of nitrogen fertilisers, plants with increased nitrogen use efficiency are of great importance to future food security.’

Nitrogen is the fertiliser that plants require the most, but only 40-50% of the applied fertiliser is taken up by the cereal crops. The nitrogen not taken up leads to pollution of waterways and oceans, one consequence being algal blooms at river deltas causing dead zones.

Unused nitrogen fertiliser has a further environmental impact in that it is broken down in the soil by microbes and released into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Plants require less phosphorus than nitrogen but there is a lot less available. Current estimates are that the world will reach peak phosphorus by the middle of this century. Peak phosphorus, in the same way as peak oil, means the readily available supplies have been utilised and the cost of phosphorous fertiliser will dramatically increase.

The Friday session includes plenary speakers representing the key international groups specialising in NUE and research presentations describing key rate limiting steps in NUE that are currently being targeted to improve the NUE in crop plants.

IWPMB 2010 Website

Salt-tolerant rice offers hope for global food supply

A team of scientists from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, a key research partner of the Waite Research Institute at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus, has successfully used genetic modification (GM) to improve the salt tolerance of rice, offering hope for improved rice production around the world.

This new research into rice builds on previous work by ACPFG researchers into the salt tolerance of plants and was conducted in collaboration with scientists now based at the universities of Copenhagen, Cairo and Melbourne.

Read about this research at PLoS ONE