July 6, 2012
Queensland agriculture has received a $3 million boost to support research collaborations between The University of Queensland (UQ) and agricultural industries.
The research projects range from continued development of a promising new biofuel crop and advances in animal nutrition to identifying genetic traits in sorghum and unpicking the chemical cocktail in the salivary gland of Australia's paralysis tick.
The four project grants involving researchers at UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Sciences and the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) were announced by Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, as part of the latest round of Australian Research Council Linkage Project grants.
The Federal Government provided almost $2 million and industry partners provided just over $1 million funding. Industry partners are Ridley AgriProducts, Agri-Science Queensland, Nugrain Seeds Pty Ltd, USDA - Agricultural Research Service: Crop Germplasm Research, Eli Lilly Australia, Stanwell Corporation Ltd and Bioenergy Plantations Australia.
Head of UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Sciences and a grant recipient, Professor Neal Menzies, said the industry research collaborations would provide enormous benefits to the state with innovations set to increase agricultural productivity and reduce disease.
“A cross-disciplinary project with Ridley AgriProducts and involving UQ biochemistry and animal scientists is studying whether adding probiotics to the stockfeed of cattle, sheep and poultry will increase stockfeed efficiency and consequently the animal's body weight,” Professor Menzies said. Louis Vuitton outlet
“Another project, which I am involved in, is looking at the potential to turn land that has been disturbed by coal mining into a productive biofuel and carbon crop through the planting of the tree legume, Pongamia pinnata.”
QAAFI is coordinating two genetic-based projects – identifying traits to increase sorghum yields and utilising the genetics of the Australian paralysis tick to develop new preventative treatments or vaccines.
ARC Linkage project details
• $498,000 for The tree legume Pongamia pinnata on coal mine spoil: an integrated and sustainable rehabilitation, bioenergy and carbon farming production system. Partner organisations: Stanwell Corporation Ltd, Bioenergy Plantations Australia. This project aims to assess the growth performance of the tree legume Pongamia pinnata on coal mine overburden. The expected growth of Pongamia on what is regarded as poor quality soil will lead to the development of an integrated production system that will provide benefits through rehabilitation of lands, biofuel feedstock, and carbon farming.
• $529,000 for Evaluation of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens H57 as a probiotic in livestock using animal nutrition studies and metagenomics. Industry partner: Ridley AgriProducts. To improve animal production, gene sequencing will unravel how microbial communities in the rumen of sheep and cattle and the gastro intestinal tract of poultry respond to feed quality and probiotic bacteria. The animal nutrition trials will also measure weight gain and feed utilisation efficiency, particularly for nitrogen, protein and energy.
• $282,500 for Fertility crisis: harnessing the genomic tension behind pollen fertility in sorghum. Partner organisations: Agri-Science Queensland, Nugrain Seeds Pty Ltd, USDA - Agricultural Research Service: Crop Germplasm Research. Hybrid sorghum varieties yield more grain than inbred varieties but the production seed for farmers can be difficult. This project will identify the genes responsible for a trait that makes hybrid seed production possible and this knowledge will help raise sorghum yields in Australian and in some of the world's poorest countries.
• $505,000 for Harnessing the genome of the Australian paralysis tick to develop effective control products. Partner organisation: Eli Lilly Australia. This project aims to examine the potent cocktail produced by the salivary gland of Australia's paralysis tick. The paralysis tick continues to cause severe illness and deaths for companion pets with up to 100,000 cases of toxicoses per year. This project aims to develop new safe treatments and/or preventative vaccines.