Tag Archives: Mark Tester

New ARC Linkage Projects to increase plant nutrient use efficiency and yield

Waite researchers have once again attracted significant funding through the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Scheme. Linkage Projects encourage collaboration between University researchers and industry to develop solutions to key challenges and provide economic and social benefits.

“These new Linkage Projects represent significant new investment in research at the Waite” said Waite Research Institute Director, Professor Roger Leigh. “Both projects involving Waite researchers have the potential to deliver significant benefits to Australia’s agricultural sector and I personally congratulate all of the researchers involved.”

The new ARC Linkage Projects for 2011 involving the Waite researchers are:

“Transport systems that underpin nitrogen efficient maize”

Dr Brent N Kaiser, Prof Stephen D Tyerman, Dr Kanwarpal S Dhugga, Dr Jan A Rafalski

Nitrogen applications to grain crops are a major determinant of grain yield and quality. Greater efficiency in the use of nitrogen will contribute to more sustainable grain production systems. This project aims to identify plant-based processes involved in nitrogen use by maize. It will define the nitrogen transport network underpinning in the uptake, storage and redistribution of inorganic nitrogen (nitrate and ammonium) over the developmental life cycle of maize. This information will provide novel insight into the genetic control of nitrogen use in maize and other cereal crops.

Partner organisation: DuPont Pioneer

Value: $750,110 over 5 years

“Improving yield through image-based structural analysis of cereals”

Prof Anton J van den Hengel, Prof Mark A Tester, Dr Anthony R Dick, Dr Joerg Vandenhirtz

Feeding an increasing world population under the threat of climate change requires the development of new plant varieties capable of delivering higher yield in more marginal conditions. This project will develop image-based technologies for accurately estimating plant yield which will improve the effectiveness of plant breeding processes.

Partner organisation: LemnaTec GmbH

Value:$475,000 over 5 years

The Waite Research Institute congratulates these ARC Linkage Project recipients and all of the successful researchers at the University of Adelaide.

For more information on successful ARC Linkage Projects, see the University of Adelaide’s media release and the ARC’s Linkage Project Funding Outcomes

Australia Talks Interview with Mark Tester

To coincide with the launch of Greenpeace’s “True Food Guide”, ABC’s Australia Talks featured a discussion with Mark Tester (Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomic/University of Adelaide) and Laura Kelly (Greenpeace) on Wednesday 2 March 2011.

You can find a brief blurb about the interview on the Australia Talks website.

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.

Mark Tester at TEDx Adelaide – Video

The Media from TEDx Adelaide has become available, Professor Mark Tester, Director, The Plant Accelerator, Waite Campus (University of Adelaide) was one of the speakers at the event held in November, 2010. You can watch his talk in full below or at his page on the TEDx website.

Recognition from the American Society of Plant Biologists

Dr Simon Robinson

Dr Simon Robinson

Two prominent Waite plant scientists, Mark Tester (Professor of Plant Physiology – ACPFG and Director, The Plant Accelerator) and Dr Simon Robinson (Program Leader – CSIRO Plant Industry) are

among 45 scientists who have been identified by the American Society of Plant Biologists for the influence of their work based on an analysis of citations of papers published in Plant Physiology and Plant Cell. The list can be downloaded from http://my.aspb.org/resource/resmgr/docs/aspbtopauthors.pdf

Professor Mark Tester

Professor Mark Tester


and includes 11 plant scientists from North America, 14 from Europe, 12 from Australasia and 7 from Asia. This is further confirmation of the high international quality of the research done in the partner organisations at Waite.


Mark Tester and TEDx

We are proud to announce that Professor Mark Tester, Director, The Plant Accelerator, Waite Campus (University of Adelaide),  has been confirmed as a speaker at TEDx Adelaide 2010. Professor Tester will be speaking on the major challenges facing the world as it tries to meet world food demands in the face of global environmental change. Prof Mark Tester, Director, The Plant Accelerator