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Discover our Research Groups and CentresCrop production and biosecurityCrop Production and Biosecurity

We are underpinning food production, protection and quality through translating high-end biotechnology and sustainable management technologies.  This is addressed at all levels, from soil management through to the production and protection of food products:

  • Ecosystem and soil health
  • Improving nitrogen fixation in forage crops
  • Transgenic plants
  • Genomic and comparative genomics of crops and pests
  • Gene discovery
  • Developing better combinations of genes using marker-assisted selection
  • Developing new forms of resistance to pests and diseases
  • Improving the quality of grains and horticultural produce
  • Crop biosecurity and post harvest storage to reducing handling losses
  • Dealing with climate variation

Future Food Security

Key questions in this research theme include:

  • How can we improve soil management to maximize crop productivity?
  • How can we increase our understanding of soil micro-organisms and their contribution to crop productivity?
  • How can we increase nitrogen fixation in forage and grain legumes?
  • How can we increase crop yields and grain quality by increasing water and nutrient use efficiency?
  • Can we increase sustainable crop production by further reducing losses from pests and diseases (fungi, viruses, nematodes, aphids)?
  • How to safely use chemicals along the supply/value chain – management of resistance, residues, OHS&E issues, development alternatives and regulatory?
  • Can we improve quarantine and pre-shipment treatment for safeguarding trade?
  • How can we make the best use of new genomic technologies for improving grain quality and crop yield?
  • Can we develop new diagnostic tools and policies to support crop biosecurity?
  • Can we reduce losses and waste in the food handling chain?
  • Can we reduce the environmental impact of farming?
  • Can we manage pests in post-harvest storage, handling and transportation in a sustainable way?
  • Can we improve our understanding of the global trade and transportation networks to effectively combat the spread of pests and diseases?
  • How to manage exotic invasive species pests, pathogens and weeds?

Our key approaches and tools include:

  • Advanced molecular technologies - next generation sequencing,  proteomics, metabolomics - combined with bioinformatics
  • Growth chamber and glasshouse trials
  • Field based research and population monitoring
  • Traditional and molecular plant breeding strategies