Tag Archives: Series

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.

History

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

 

The Harold Woolhouse Lecture 2010

Looking back and looking forward: time for fresh thinking on roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in plant phosphorus (P) uptake

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.

The 3rd Harold Woolhouse Lecture is named in honour of the former Director of the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. Professor Woolhouse finished his PhD at the University of Adelaide before spending much of his early career (during the 1960s and 1970s) researching heavy metals and senescence. Between 1980 and 1989, Professor Woolhouse developed and directed the world class plant biology research facility, the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich, United Kingdom. In 1990, he became Director of the Waite Agricultural Research Institute and was responsible for the co-location of the South Australian Research and Development Institute and Primary Industries and Resources South Australia on the Waite Campus. He also masterminded the merging of Roseworthy Agricultural College with the University of Adelaide. He left Adelaide in August 1995 due to ill health and passed away in June 1996.

Date/Time: Monday 8th November, 4pm
Location:
Plant Genomics Centre Seminar Room (Level 1), Waite Campus
Speaker: Professor Sally Smith, University Of Adelaide
Cost
: Free

The presentation will be followed by drinks and nibbles

For further Information contact: Dr Amanda Able

The Inaugural Innovation in Food Lecture – Podcast and Slidecast Avaliable

“Are ‘refined’ carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?” listen to Professor Jennie Brand-Miller’s talk which was given at the Inaugural Innovation Of Food Lecture on the 6th September, 2010, or you can watch the Slidecast below.

This lecture focuses on well-designed studies demonstrating that carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed (i.e. low GI carbs) are good for health and reduce risk factors associated with lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes. Improving carbohydrate quality is therefore a better approach to health and sustainability issues than ‘ditching the carbs’. Professor Jennie Brand-Miller is recognised for her work on carbohydrates and diabetes. Her books under the series title The New Glucose Revolution have sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide and appeared in 12 languages.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller

The Inaugural Innovation in Food Lecture

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller
Are ‘refined’ carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?

The inaugural Innovation in Food Lecture was established to recognise individuals making significant research advances in the areas of food, health and nutrition. The Lecture was named for the world class FOODplus Research Centre which is a joint venture between the Functional Food group at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus and the Child Nutrition Research Centre at the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute. FOODplus is undertaking research linking sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition to improve human health. This research fosters economic relationships with industry and coal-face agriculture, creates research sustainability and translates nutrition research into food products with real health outcomes.

The take home message from health authorities for the past three decades has been ‘eat less fat, especially saturated fat’. Now a new paradigm is arising: that the processed carbohydrates which replaced the energy from fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more so than fat – a finding that has enormous implications for the Australian food and agricultural industry. Both quantity and quality of carbohydrate are relevant to the debate. The rate of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates is assessed as their ‘glycemic index’ (GI). This lecture will focus on well-designed studies demonstrating that carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed (i.e. low GI carbs) are good for health and reduce risk factors associated with lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes. Improving carbohydrate quality is therefore a better approach to health and sustainability issues than ‘ditching the carbs’. Professor Jennie Brand-Miller is recognised for her work on carbohydrates and diabetes. Her books under the series title The New Glucose Revolution have sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide and appeared in 12 languages.

Date/Time: Monday 6th September, 4pm
Location:
Plant Research Centre Auditorium, Waite Campus
Speaker:
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, University of Sydney

The presentation will be followed by drinks and nibbles

For further Information contact: Dr Amanda Able