Can the phenology of Australian wild relatives of cultivated rice be modified for human use?
Chief investigator: Atwell
We are studying the phenology of Australian wild rice within the genus Oryza. These species are adapted to the savannah of northern Australia and are adapted to hot conditions and intermittent drought in the earliest phase of growth. The aim is to determine whether the Australian wild rice relatives of modern rice have a range of photoperiod requirements. That is, does flowering occur in response to the very subtle changes in day length observed across northern Australian seasons? Secondly, we aim to make initial analyses of the chemical and thus nutritional characteristics of the seed of these wild relatives.
Provided by: Flora Foundation
Determining molecular pathways for stress-induced male sterility in rice
Chief investigator: Haynes
We will perform large-scale proteomic characterisation of young rice plants subjected to cold stress at an early stage, which frequently induces male sterility leading to significant losses in crop yields. This information will be used to gain greater understanding into how rice and wheat plants adapt to such conditions at the molecular level.
Provided by: Macquarie University safety net grant
Do plant growth conditions affect allergen concentrations in peanuts?
Chief investigators: Roberts, Atwell
Human allergy to specific peanut proteins has become increasingly prevalent in the Western world over recent decades, and is a common cause of food-related death. There is a need to grow peanuts with lowered allergenicity. The concentrations of allergens in peanuts are likely to be determined by interactions between genetic and environmental factors. We propose to compare the relative concentrations of peanut allergens from a selected commercial peanut variety grownin different climate regions in Australia as well as from plants exposed to conditions associated with climate change, including drought and heat stress. We will apply a quantitative 2-dimensional electrophoresis technique known as DIGE (Differential in Gel Electrophoresis), recently used to measure differences in peanut allergens between varieties (Schmidt et al., 2009, Proteomics 9, 3507-3521).
Our research is important for the Peanut Company of Australia (PCA) – our prospective Partner Organisation – as peanut allergy is the principle health concern for consumers of the company’s products. Our common goal is to use research to develop new breeding strategies allowing production of peanuts with lower allergenicity. Our data are expected to secure a world-leading position in this research niche and contribute substantially to reducing peanut allergy in the long term.
Provided by: Macquarie University Linkage Projects seeding grants
Environmental proteomics: A new, more reliable method of measuring the effects of chemical pollution on Australia’s coastal ecosystems
Chief investigators: Birch, Raftos, Coleman, Haynes, Hyne, Taylor
We will use proteomics to detect altered protein expression patterns in estuarine animals (oysters and shrimp) exposed to chemical pollution. Our long term goal is to integrate this new technology into existing methods of environmental analysis to provide a far more robust approach to environmental monitoring. We aim to develop new, more sensitive environmental monitoring tools to detect pollution in coastal waterways and allow contamination to be managed before permanent biological damage occurs.
Provided by: Australian Research Council
Establishing the mechanism of action of abscisic acid in wheat grain hydration
Chief investigator: Atwell
This is a spinoff project of the former Grain Foods. The project used biotechnology to investigate the nature of milling yield in wheat and ways to improve it. The aim is to understand the impact of environmental factors on wheat flour yield, and whether drought years exacerbate or enhance yield. The project combines glasshouse studies with biophysics and hormone physiology to investigate the effects of milling.
Provided by: Grain Foods Pty Ltd