Agricultural and veterinary sciences

In ERA 2015, research in agricultural and veterinary sciences received the top rating of 5 – ‘outstanding performance well above world standard’ – for the discipline overall. This places Macquarie among the top five universities in the country for this discipline.

University strengths

Macquarie’s agricultural and veterinary sciences research has specialised strengths in crop and pasture production, fisheries sciences and horticultural production. Such research is facilitated by the ARC Training Centre for Molecular Technology in the Food Industry with contributions from researchers in the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences, and Environmental Sciences.

Major contributions

The largest activity is centred on horticultural production, particularly in horticultural crop protection, oenology and viticulture. This includes genetic studies of industrial strains of wine yeasts, analysis of grape and wine proteins, and life span, reproduction and diet consumption in the Queensland fruit fly – one of the most significant pests in Australia.

In crop and pasture production, the main emphasis is on crop and pasture biochemistry and physiology – particularly as related to rice and wheat production. Research facilitated through the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility (APAF) includes the quantitative proteomic analysis of temperature and drought stress in rice, cold response proteins in rice, changes in heat tolerant species of wild rice, and strategic distribution of protective proteins in wheat.

In fisheries science, research strengths include work related to shellfish (particularly oysters) and to endangered species such as sharks. Highlights include use of proteomic discovery to study biomarkers of heavy metal contamination in Sydney rock oysters, screening for probiotics in Greenshell mussels, responses of commercially important species to ocean acidification and disease, and cellular responses to immunological challenges in sea urchins.

Collaboration

Macquarie’s agricultural and veterinary sciences research is characterised by rigorous fundamental biochemical and microbiological studies that have extensive practical and industrial application. Recent studies have been funded by the Grain Foods CRC, Bayer CropScience, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, NSW Department of Industry and Investment, Dairy Australia, Horticulture Innovation Australia and the US Department of Agriculture.

Recognition

Our researchers also serve on editorial boards of key journals in the area, including FEMS Yeast Research, Bioengineered Bugs, American Journal of Viticulture and Enology, Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, Annals of Microbiology, Yeast, Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, AoB (Annals of Botany) Plants and Proteomics.

National research centres

ARC Training Centre for Molecular Technology in the Food Industry 

  • Professor Paul Haynes (Director) 
  • paul.haynes@mq.edu.au 

Australian Proteome Analysis Facility (APAF) 

  • Associate Professor Mark Molloy (Director) 
  • mark.molloy@mq.edu.au

Macquarie University research centres

Biomolecular Frontiers Research Centre (BMFRC) 

  • Professor Nicki Packer (Director) 
  • nicki.packer@mq.edu.au 

Biosecurity Futures 

  • Professor Phil Taylor (Director) 
  • phil.taylor@mq.edu.au
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