Tag Archives: Lecture

SA History Festival 2011 – Free Public Lecture

Urrbrae House

Urrbrae House

When: Monday, 2 May 2011 5pm (for 5.30 pm start)

Where: Urrbrae House, Waite Campus, The University of Adelaide – off Fullarton Road, Urrbrae

“A grand renaissance”: Breeding new cereals and legumes at the Waite, 1955-2005

by Lynette Zeitz

The 1950s saw the beginning of a “grand renaissance” in cereal breeding at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute at the University of Adelaide.

Historian and Manager of the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct, Lynette Zeitz will talk about the work of Waite scientists in developing the new wheat, barley, triticale and faba bean varieties that have transformed South Australia’s farming landscape in the last 50 years.

Refreshments provided.

Bookings required.

To make bookings, Please contact Amanda Jackson on 8303 7497 or email amanda.jackson@adelaide.edu.au

Robyn van Heeswijck Lecture

The 2nd Robyn van Heeswijck Lecture will be held on Monday 28th March 2011, 4pm Plant Research Centre, Waite Campus, University of Adelaide


Dr Brendan Choat, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Water transport and water stress in grapevines: new insights using novel imaging techniques.

For more information please refer to the website.

The audience is invited to stay and talk with the speaker and colleagues over refreshments.

Distinguished visitor Seminar – Podcast

Prof Ulrich Zimmermann

How do plants take up water in a drying climate?Listen to Emeritus Professor Ulrich Zimmermann’s talk which was given at the Distinguished visitor Seminar on the 22st February, 2011.

The traditional paradigm of how plants take up water from the soil and transport it to the leaves is that water is pulled exclusively by transpiration-induced negative pressure gradients through continuous water columns. Water under negative pressure is in a metastable state. Cavitation is therefore a frequent event and can be catastrophic to water transport during drought. I will show how plants use other forces (such as gel-supported and interfacial forces) in order to overcome drought-induced interruption of the water columns. Evidence for this comes from non-invasive and minimally invasive techniques, such as NMR imaging, xylem probe and cell turgor probe, applied to crop and (fruit) trees. NMR imaging and non-invasive probes have also provided evidence that moisture uptake from the atmosphere by mucilage-containing epistomatal plugs plays an important role in the water supply of leaves of crop (such as grapevine and tomato), but also of 60-m tall trees. The results challenge our current view about the mechanism of water transport in plants and have paved the way for the development of new tools for online monitoring the water supply of crop under field conditions.

Short Speaker Biography

Currently, Emeritus Professor Ulrich Zimmermann is Senior Professor at the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg and chair of the scientific advisory board of ZIM Plant Technology. He was Head of the Membrane Research Group at the Research Center Jülich, Germany (1969-1984), and from 1984 – 2009 led the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. The main focus of his research includes water transport and salt tolerance of plants and development of irrigation systems, biophysics of membrane transport, electromanipulation of cells and organelles, and turgor-mediated processes in algae and higher plants. He has authored c. 500 publications and more than 120 patents. Some of his most important inventions, which are used worldwide, include the plant cell turgor probe, xylem pressure probe and the magnetic, non-invasive probe for measuring turgor in leafy plants.

The inaugural Peter Waite Lecture – Podcast

Prof Geoff Fincher

Listen to Professor Geoff Fincher’s talk which was given at  the inaugural Peter Waite Lecture on the 21st February, 2011.

Higher plants resist the forces of gravity and powerful lateral forces through the cumulative strength of the walls that surround individual cells. These walls consist mainly of cellulose, non-cellulosic polysaccharides and lignin, the proportions of which depend upon specific functions of the cell and its stage of development.Grasses, which include the common cereals, arguably represent the single most important group of plants for human societies worldwide. Foods prepared from cereals not only account for a high proportion of our daily caloric intake, but also contribute to human health through the provision of fibre in our diet. Thus, polysaccharides from the cell walls of cereal grains are becoming recognized for their potential to lower the risk of serious diet-related conditions such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer and diverticular disease.

Residues of cereal crops and a broad range of perennial grasses are also showing considerable promise as future biomass energy crops and a number of groups in both the private and public sectors are attempting to manipulate the composition of cell walls to increase levels of extractable, easily degradable and ultimately fermentable wall polysaccharide in various grass species.

Here, the influence of the fine chemical structure of wall polysaccharides on properties such as molecular size, solubility and viscosity will be related to their beneficial effects in human diets, and manipulations of wall composition that might enhance conversion of plant biomass to bioethanol will be discussed.

Short Speaker Biography

Geoff Fincher is the Professor of Plant Science at the University of Adelaide and the Director of the newly established Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls. Geoff is also the leader of a new CSIRO Food Futures Flagship Cluster on ‘High Fibre Grain, for work on the role of wall polysaccharides in human health and nutrition.

Until recently Geoff was Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics. He was involved, with other colleagues, in setting up the ACPFG in 2003 and he was chair of the Executive Management Group from 2003-2010. He has also developed collaborative projects between the ACPFG and the DuPont-Pioneer company, and with ABB Grain Ltd.

From 2007-2010, Geoff and Mark Tester, together with colleagues at the ANU and the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry established the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility. As part of this Facility an automated, high throughput phenotyping glasshouse has been constructed on the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide. This component of the APPF is known as the ‘Plant Accelerator’.

Geoff was the Director of the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide from 2003-2010 and has been the Director of a GRDC-funded program on the functional genomics of growth and end-use quality in cereals for seven years. He serves as an editor for the Journal of Cereal Science and is also a long-serving member of the editorial board of Planta. He chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of Biomime, the Swedish centre for wood functional genomics. For a more detailed CV see here.


Named in honour of the pastoralist and benefactor who donated Urrbrae estate to the University of Adelaide for the study of Agriculture, the inaugural Peter Waite Lecture was given by Professor Geoff Fincher of the University of Adelaide to celebrate Geoff’s significant contributions to the Waite Campus and Australian Science.

Seminars in February

The first distinguished guest lectures in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine of the year will be on the Monday 21st February, and the second on the Tuesday 22nd February, both at 4 pm in the McLeod Lecture Theatre, Charles Hawker Building, Waite Campus.

The inaugural Peter Waite Lecture
Monday 21st February 2011, 4pm
McLeod Lecture Theatre, Charles Hawker Building, Waite Campus

Professor Geoff Fincher

Polysaccharide Structure in Cell Walls of the Grasses: From Human Health to Renewable Transport Fuels.

Distinguished Visitor Seminar
Tuesday 22nd February, 4pm
McLeod Lecture Theatre, Charles Hawker Building, Waite Campus

Emeritus Professor Ulrich Zimmermann

How do plants take up water in a drying climate?

More information on the 2011 Waite Seminar Series, the Peter Waite Seminar, and speakers’ bios are found at https://agwine.adelaide.edu.au/news_events/seminar/

The 2nd A. E. V. Richardson Lecture – Podcast Avaliable

Dissecting nitrogen use efficiency in modern wheat, or who cares about nitrogen, and what can we do about it? Listen to Dr Malcolm Hawkesford’s talk which was given for the Inaugural AEV Richardson Lecture held on the 29th November, 2010.

In this Lecture, Dr Hawkesford will discuss targets for crop improvement including nutrient capture, photosynthetic capacity and canopy longevity, nutrient remobilization, yield and quality stability and the grain yield – grain protein conundrum and the prospects for improving grain protein deviation. The basic approach taken during his research involves the field scale screening of a wide diversity of wheat germplasm under different nutritional conditions, as well as exploiting the world’s oldest plant nutrition experiment, the Broadbalk experiment at Rothamsted. Such materials are used for de-convoluting traits contributing to nutrient use efficiency and crop performance, and utilising this variation for novel gene discovery approach via transcriptome and/or QTL analysis. Validation of candidate genes is undertaken via transgenic approaches.

Dr Malcolm J. Hawkesford

The Harold Woolhouse Lecture 2010 – Podcast Avaliable

“Looking back and looking forward: time for fresh thinking on roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in plant phosphorus (P) uptake” Listen to Professor Sally Smith’s talk which was given at the Inaugural Harold Woolhouse Lecture on the 8th November, 2010.

This talk will start with some brief reflections on Harold Woolhouse at the Waite. Professor Smith will then 1) review the immediate relevance of studies of phosphorus (P) nutrition of plants, in the light of the low availability of P in soil, the need for P fertiliser application to achieve satisfactory crop yields and the limited global P resources; 2) introduce arbuscular mycorrhizas as the most common and widespread adaptation involved in plant P uptake; 3) provide an update on how recent research has fundamentally changed knowledge of how AM symbioses influence plant P uptake; and 4) present a new hypothesis to explain why some plants (including the important crops wheat, barley and tomato) sometimes grow better when non-mycorrhizal.

Professor Sally Smith

Professor Sally Smith