Tag Archives: Food

New partnership for Radio Adelaide and the University of Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute

Harvest version 3

What we eat and drink, how it’s grown, and how science and innovation can help meet the challenges of food quality and security – this is the focus of Harvest; a new partnership between Radio Adelaide and the University of Adelaide‘s Waite Research Institute.

The radio program will feature research and topical issues related to agriculture, food and wine and will be broadcast on Radio Adelaide from Wednesday the 7th of August each week from 3.00pm-4.00pm South Australian time.

Radio Adelaide’s General Manager Deborah Welch said that the partnership is in line with Radio Adelaide’s long history of supporting life-long learning and using a variety of platforms and technologies. “We deliver an audience of enquiring minds from all walks of life to the University of Adelaide, and by extension to the Waite Campus” she said. “Our listeners are curious people who are looking for more information about their world. They are interested in social issues and influencing decision making. And they like to eat!”

Professor Mike Wilkinson, Director of the Waite Research Institute said that the partnership provides a unique opportunity to engage the community in the issues in food production. “Producing a radio program gives us the opportunity to present our research in a way that is personally relevant to the listener, and by working with Radio Adelaide, we are going to reach a much larger and more diverse audience than we ever could alone. Whether you are from the city or the country, food production, quality and safety is relevant to you.”

For Radio Adelaide journalist Chris Brunner, producing Harvest is unique opportunity. “I’m interested in documentary-style radio and current affairs, and there are so many stories to tell about the work at the Waite and how it relates to the bigger agriculture, food and wine landscape” he said. “And to be able to have so many key people in one place is a journalist’s dream.”

The Waite Research Institute’s Public Engagement Officer, Dr Heather Bray will co-produce and co-host the program. “Agriculture is exciting, diverse and personal – its science you can eat. As a science communicator, I’m really looking forward to working with a journalist to present agricultural science stories in a personally relevant and engaging way.”

In addition to the program’s live audience in Adelaide, people will be able to listen to the program from all over Australia either via Radio Adelaide’s live stream or podcasts at radio.adelaide.edu.au/program/harvest. Podcasts will also be available through iTunes.

Harvest will also use Twitter and Facebook to interact with the audience. Links to podcasts will also be shared here on the Waite Research Institute’s blog as well as the WRI Twitter channel and Facebook page.

 

Maternal diet sets up junk food addiction in babies

Story is based on one orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Tuesday, 30 April, 2013

Research from the University of Adelaide suggests that mothers who eat junk food while pregnant have already programmed their babies to be addicted to a high fat, high sugar diet by the time they are weaned.

In laboratory studies in rats, the researchers found that a junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation desensitised the normal reward system fuelled by these highly palatable foods.

Led by Dr Bev Mühlhäusler, Postdoctoral Fellow in the University’s FOODplus Research Centre, this is the first study to show the effects of maternal junk food consumption at such an early stage in the offspring’s life. The study was published recently in The FASEB Journal.

Opioids are produced by the body as a reward response, including in response to fat and sugar. These opioids stimulate the production of the “feel good” hormone dopamine, which produces a good feeling.

“We found that the opioid signalling pathway (the reward pathway) in these offspring was less sensitive than those whose mothers were eating a standard diet,” Dr Mühlhäusler says.

This means that children being born to a mother who ate a diet dominated by junk food would need to eat more fat and sugar to get the same good feeling, increasing their preference for junk food. It would also encourage them to overeat.

“In the same way that someone addicted to opioid drugs has to consume more of the drug over time to achieve the same ‘high’, continually producing excess opioids by eating too much junk food results in the need to consume more foods full of fat and sugar to get the same pleasurable sensation,” says Dr Mühlhäusler.

“Mothers eating a lot of junk food while pregnant are setting up their children to be addicted.

“Although our research shows that many of the long-term health problems associated with maternal junk food diets can be avoided if offspring carefully follow a healthy diet after weaning, they are always going to have a predisposition for overconsumption of junk food and obesity. It’s going to make it much more difficult for them to maintain a healthy body weight.”

Dr Mühlhäusler says it is important to try and understand the effects of the maternal diet at a very early stage in the offspring to see what systems could be targeted, if any, to reverse the problem.

Initial findings from further work, however, have suggested the alterations to the opioid receptors are permanent.

“The take-home message for women is that eating large amounts of junk food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding will have long-term consequences for their child’s preference for these foods, which will ultimately have negative effects on their health,” Dr Mühlhäusler says.

Innovation in agriculture has led to fast food. it’s time to slow down

The Waite Research Institute was pleased to be working with the Cooperative Research Centres Association to present a debate in celebration of the Australian Year of the farmer as part of their Collaborate Innovate 2012 conference this week. The debate topic was:

“Innovation in agriculture has led to fast food. It’s time to slow down”

Innovation has always been part of Australian agriculture. From the ‘stump-jump’ plough to Federation wheat, our early agriculturalists adapted, invented and experimented with technology and techniques to create a national economy largely dependent on food and fibre production, one that “rode on the sheep’s back”. Newer developments such as minimum tillage, precision agriculture and the application of genetics and genomics to animal and plant breeding have enabled our agricultural sector to feed approximately 60 million people annually.

However, Australia is now a mostly urban society, increasingly disconnected from food production. Australians are amongst the most obese in the world and a recent survey showed that 45 per cent of school students could not identify that everyday lunchbox items such as a banana, bread and cheese originated from farms. Concern for the environment is leading some consumers to reject food produced using technology-based methods.

Is it time for a ‘back to basics’ approach to reconnect Australians with food production? Has technology led to industrial agriculture and cheap food that is not understood or valued by consumers?

Or is continued investment in innovation the only hope for Australian agriculture to remain internationally competitive and feed an increasing global population with minimal impact on the environment?

Team for the affirmative

Sophie Thomson, Gardening consultant

Dr Rosemary Stanton, Nutritionist

Andre Ursini, Chef

Team for the negative

Professor Rob Lewis, Research manager

Professor Mark Tester, Plant scientist

Philip Bruem AM, Farmer

Moderator

Dr Paul Willis, Director, Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus)

After an exciting and informative debate, the negative team where pronounced winners on the night!

To listen to the debate please click here (approx 58 minutes, 20 Mb, mp3 format)

To see how the debate looked on Twitter please click here .

The Waite Research Institute would like to thank all who contributed to making the event a success.

Debate @ the Waite, 15th of March, 2012

“The future of the Australian wine industry

will be based on technology, not tradition”

Ensuring that Australia’s wine industry remains profitable, internationally competitive and sustainable into an uncertain future is a major challenge. The industry is under pressure from oversupply of fruit, the high Australian dollar and increasing competition from other ‘new-world’ wine producers.

The Australian wine industry is estimated to be worth $5 billion annually, with approximately 60% of our wines exported. Innovation has underpinned the growth of the Australian wine industry in recent decades, enabling the production of high-volume, value-for-money wines for export, optimising wine outcomes and increasing profitability.

How should the Australian wine industry position itself as consumers become increasingly discerning and wine-savvy? Does remaining competitive in a global market mean embracing any and every existing and emerging technology in both viticulture and winemaking?

Despite advances in technology though, winemaking remains essentially a natural biochemical process which humans have exploited and enjoyed for thousands of years. The basic tools – grapes, yeast, wooden barrels and presses – have remained the same throughout the ages.

Consumers at the premium/boutique end of the market are increasingly savouring the differences between wines, and seeking to know the unique ‘story’ of the wine they are drinking. The wider trend towards ethical consumption, sustainable production practices and reduced use of additives may also suggest that it’s time for a ‘back-to-basics’ approach.

This debate, moderated by Dr Paul Willis, RiAus, will explore these issues and many more, as six experts in two teams argue for your vote.

Will you vote for or against?

Team for the affirmative
Professor Steve Tyerman, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, The University of Adelaide
Dr Dan Johnson, Managing Director, Australian Wine Research Institute
Professor Vlad Jiranek, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, The University of Adelaide

Team for the negative
Mr Brian Croser, AO, Tapanappa winemaker
Professor Barbara Santich, School of History & Politics, The University of Adelaide
Dr Sue Bastian, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide

Thursday 15 March 2012
6:00pm – 8:30pm

Waite Campus
Lirra Lirra Cafe,
Waite Road, Urrbrae

Admission is free, but prior registration is essential as seats are strictly limited.
Go to http://debateatthewaite.eventbrite.com.au/

Free wine tasting and finger food provided

Debate @ the Waite

Come and hear two teams debate the topic: Increasing agricultural production is the only sure way to feed 9 billion people by 2050

Ensuring global food security for future generations is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Increases in agricultural productivity in the second half of the 20th century did much to alleviate hunger in developing countries. However, the rate of this productivity increase is slowing. Do we need another ‘green revolution’ to feed our growing population? Should the focus of investment be on the sustainable intensification of agriculture? Can we continue to push agricultural productivity further while still meeting expectations that resources will be used more efficiently and without harming the environment?

Australian consumers waste large amounts of food every year, and we are not alone. In addition to consumer wastage, vital foodstuffs are lost on the journey from paddock to plate. Political issues can also prevent the movement of food from places of excess to places of need. Do we already produce enough food to feed our growing population? Should the focus of investment be on reducing waste along food value-chains? Is food security a problem of politics rather than production?

At this exciting and important debate moderated by Dr Paul Willis (Royal Institution of Australia), six experts in two teams will argue for your vote.

Team for the affirmative

  • Prof Rick Roush, Dean, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Andrew Jacobs, Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, University of Adelaide
  • Prof Roger Leigh, Director, Waite Research Institute, University of Adelaide

Team for the negative

  • John Webster, Chief Executive, Foodbank Australia Ltd.
  • Dr Wendy Umberger, Lecturer in Agricultural Economics, University of Adelaide
  • Andrew Stoler, Executive Director, Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide

Will you be for or against?

When: Thursday 25th August, 6.00 pm – 8.30 pm
Where: Lirra Lirra Cafe, Waite Campus, The University of Adelaide, Waite Rd, Urrbrae

Admission free. Bookings essential

Register online at eventbrite or call 83036729
Download flyer (pdf)

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.

Peter Waite Celebrations

Peter Waite Day

To commemorate Peter Waite’s birth date (May 9, 1834), the WRI, together with the UoA School of Agriculture, Food & Wine honoured the day by sponsoring drinks and canapés for all Waite campus staff and UoA postgraduates on Friday afternoon 6 May 2011. The inaugural event was held in perfect autumn weather outside Lirra Lirra cafe from 3:00pm to 4:30pm and included a competitive Bocce tournament with 12 teams vying for the prestigious trophy, the Peter Waite Bocce Cup!

Professor Leigh gave a short speech and he said the Peter Waite Day event was a great opportunity for all the Waite collocated partners to get together and socialise.

At the conclusion of the event, Acting Head of School, Professor Eileen Scott presented the winners of the Peter Waite cup, “The Salties”. It’s worth also pointing out many of the teams had some fun names such as the SARDInes and the Central Wino’s – next year we hope to see even more Bocce teams enter with clever names representing their departments or area of research. Perhaps in 2012 we’ll even add an additional prize for the team with the best name!?

The WRI and AFW School would like to thank everyone who helped organise the Bocce games and the people who gave their support and attended ‘Peter Waite Day’ 2011.