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Bundoora, Australia

Simbiken N.A.,Australian National University | Cooper P.D.,Australian National University | Powell K.S.,Biosciences Research
Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research | Year: 2015

Background and Aims: Frosted scale is a sap-sucking insect pest that feeds on several commercial Vitis vinifera cultivars across several wine regions of Australia. The ability to develop and the impact of its feeding activity on grapevines have not been documented. We have closed this knowledge gap through a study that examined the development and feeding effect of frosted scale on Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Methods and Results: A replicated glasshouse experiment was established by allocating the potted rootlings of the three cultivars into two treatment regimes, control (uninfested) and treated (infested with frosted scale) grapevines in the summer months between November 2011 and March 2012. Frosted scale population was relatively high on Riesling, moderate on Pinot Noir and least on Sauvignon Blanc. The presence of frosted scale significantly reduced leaf chlorophyll concentration and the number of internodes per vine. An increasing number of scales did not significantly affect the chlorophyll concentration in any cultivar. An increasing number of scales did significantly decrease the number of internodes per vine. The proportion of dropped leaves in all cultivars exposed to frosted scale was higher than that of control plants. Riesling dropped more leaves than Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. Conclusions: An increase in first and second instar populations of frosted scale feeding mainly on grapevine leaves was observed. This feeding may reduce leaf chlorophyll and the number of internodes per vine. Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc were all susceptible to frosted scale feeding under glasshouse conditions, but individual cultivar performance varied. Significance of the Study: Grapegrowers could expect frosted scale population and loss of vine vigour to increase on highly susceptible cultivars, such as Riesling. Further studies regarding cultivar differences in response to frosted scale feeding are necessary to clarify these results. © 2015 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Inc. Source


Davidson J.,South Australian Research And Development Institute | Smetham G.,University of Melbourne | Russ M.H.,South Australian Research And Development Institute | McMurray L.,South Australian Research And Development Institute | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2016

Anecdotal evidence identified a change in the reaction of the resistant lentil cv Nipper to ascochyta blight in South Australia in 2010 and subsequent seasons, leading to infection. This study investigated field reactions of lentil cultivars against Ascochyta lentis and the pathogenic variability of the A. lentis population in southern Australia on commonly grown cultivars and on parental germplasm used in the Australian lentil breeding program. Disease data recorded in agronomic and plant breeder field trials from 2005 to 2014 in southern Australia confirmed the change in reaction on the foliage of the previously resistant cvs Nipper and Northfield. Cultivar responses to seed staining from A. lentis did not change. The change in foliar response was confirmed in a series of controlled environment experiments using single, conidium-derived, isolates of A. lentis collected over different years and inoculated onto differential host sets. Specific isolate/cultivar interactions produced a significant range of disease reactions from high to low aggressiveness with a greater percentage of isolates more aggressive on cvs Nipper, Northfield and PBA Flash than previously detected. Specific isolates were tested against Australian lentil cultivars and breeding lines in controlled conditions, again verifying the aggressiveness on cv Nipper. A small percentage of isolates collected prior to the commercial release of cv Nipper were also able to infect this cultivar indicating a natural variability of the A. lentis population which subsequently may have been selected in response to high cropping intensity of cv Nipper. Spore release studies from naturally infested lentil stubbles collected from commercial crops also resulted in a high percentage of infection on the previously resistant cvs Nipper and Northfield. Less than 10% of the lesions developed on the resistant differentials ILL7537 and cv Indianhead. Pathogenic variation within the seasonal populations was not affected by the cultivar from which the stubble was sourced, further indicating a natural variability in aggressiveness. The impact of dominant cultivars in cropping systems and loss of effective disease resistance is discussed. Future studies are needed to determine if levels of aggressiveness among A. lentis isolates are increasing against a range of elite cultivars. © 2016 Davidson, Smetham, Russ, McMurray, Rodda, Krysinska-Kaczmarek and Ford. Source


News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

One of the over 30 species of box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri. Credit: Robert Hartwick Mānoa (UHM) developed an array of highly innovative experiments to allow scientists to safely test first-aid measures used for box jellyfish stings - from folk tales, like urine, to state-of-the-art technologies developed for the military. The power of this new array approach, published this week in the journal Toxins, is in its ability to rigorously assess the effectiveness of various treatments on inhibiting tentacle firing and venom toxicity - two aspects of a sting that affect the severity of a person's reaction. Box jellyfish are among the deadliest creatures on Earth, and are responsible for more deaths than shark attacks annually. Despite the danger posed by these gelatinous invertebrates, scientists and medical professionals still do not agree on the best way to treat and manage jellyfish stings. "Authoritative web articles are constantly bombarding the public with unvalidated and frankly bad advice for how to treat a jelly sting," said Dr. Angel Yanagihara, lead author of the paper and assistant research professor at the UHM Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) and John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). "I really worry that emergency responders and public health decision makers might rely on these unscientific articles. It's not too strong to point out that in some cases, ignorance can cost lives." The results from Yanagihara and team's rigorous testing demonstrate that tried-and-true methods, including vinegar and hot water immersion, really do work on Hawaiian box jellyfish (Alatina alata) stings. Further, the study shows that a new therapeutic, Sting No MoreTM, developed by Yanagihara with Department of Defense funding, inhibits the venom directly. Yanagihara, aided by Dr. Christie Wilcox, a postdoctoral fellow at JABSOM, set out to test which first-aid measures actually help reduce the venom delivered when a tentacle stings or lessen the harm caused by venom that has been injected. But because box jelly stings can be life threatening, experimentation on people was out of the question. "What we needed were innovative models which would allow us to test how different options might affect the severity of a sting without putting anyone at risk," Yanagihara said. "So we designed a set of experiments using live, stinging tentacles and live human red blood cells which allowed us to pit first-aid measures against one another." The ultimate test compared the effects of treatments in a living sting model comprised of human red blood cells suspended in an agarose gel and covered with lanolin-rubbed sterile porcine intestine, which was used as a mock skin. The researchers found that the most effective treatments were Sting No More products and hot water, with Sting No More shown to work faster and better than hot water, according to the data. "People think ice will help because jelly stings burn and ice is cold," said Wilcox. "But research to date has shown that all marine venoms are highly heat sensitive. Dozens of studies, including our recent work, have shown that hot water immersion leads to better outcomes than ice." Wilcox hopes that the new experimental models will allow for more rigorous testing of first-aid measures for venomous stings from other species of Cnidaria. "The science to date has been scattered and disorganized," she said. "We strived to design methods that were straightforward and inexpensive, so that others can use them easily. The field has suffered from a lack of standardized, rigorous and reproducible models. Our paper outlines a way to change that." While the current study only tested first-aid measures using the Hawaiian box jelly, the researchers said they are working on seeing how treatments work for stings from other common Hawaiian species, including the Portuguese Man O' War which wash ashore on leeward shores during strong winds. And, they hope that they won't be the only ones testing treatments with their experimental array. Explore further: Study shows jellyfish blooms can be predicted by calm trade winds More information: Angel Yanagihara et al. Experimental Assays to Assess the Efficacy of Vinegar and Other Topical First-Aid Approaches on Cubozoan (Alatina alata) Tentacle Firing and Venom Toxicity, Toxins (2016). DOI: 10.3390/toxins8010019


News Article
Site: http://www.labdesignnews.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) is pleased to acknowledge the winners of the 2015 Go Beyond Awards. Go Beyond Award winners demonstrate their commitment to excellence in sustainability in lab and other high-tech facility projects by going beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources, infrastructure, services and neighboring communities; and contribute to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable designs, systems and products. The 2015 Go Beyond Awards were presented during a special luncheon ceremony at the 2015 I2SL Annual Conference on Monday, September 21, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. I2SL presented four 2015 Go Beyond Awards in two categories: Individual and Project. James Dykes, Sustainable Labs Canada James Dykes, a recently retired architect from Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), received an Individual Go Beyond Award for his many years of commitment to making sustainability a key factor in lab design. Dykes is the Founding President of, and driving force behind, Sustainable Labs Canada (SLCan), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable design and operation practices in labs and other high-tech facilities. Dykes developed and strengthened relationships between SLCan and the Real Property Institute of Canada (RPIC), I2SL and other organizations in Europe with similar goals. As a member of the RPIC Board of Directors, Dykes acted as the lab business sector representative from PWGSC, ensuring content included lab-focused issues in the RPIC Real Property National Workshop Program. Over the course of his career, Dykes has served on numerous volunteer boards, delivered conference presentations on lab design, guest lectured at several universities and colleges and was an Assistant Adjunct Professor with the Univ. of Calgary for 12 years. He worked with the Labs21 program for most of its existence, and continues to participate in I2SL’s Global Sustainable Laboratory Network. Allison Paradise, My Green Lab The second Individual Award was presented to Allison Paradise, Executive Director of My Green Lab, a non-profit organization that promotes safe, sustainable practices and equipment in labs. Paradise has been a passionate champion and advocate for sustainable lab practices since before she began the My Green Lab program several years ago. Through My Green Lab, Paradise partners with organizations to implement energy reduction, water reduction, waste management and green chemistry programs; and connects lab personnel with sustainable procurement opportunities. Working with utility providers in California, Paradise prepared the “Market Assessment of Energy Efficiency Opportunities in Laboratories,” which involved a survey of equipment use and energy efficiency that was given to almost 1,200 scientists and lab operators across the U.S. The survey identified energy-efficiency opportunities in labs that Paradise is helping to drive forward through the creation of the Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories. Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, Conn. One of this year’s Project Awards was presented to the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, a global leader in considering the environmental impact of its facilities and operations. The Jackson Laboratory combines inviting collegial space with efficient labs, while using a variety of energy conservation measures to maximize building performance. The lab maximizes daylight while limiting peak solar loads, and utilizes high-efficiency equipment and an improved thermal envelope. To ensure indoor air quality, the lab also has a monitoring system and occupancy sensors with the ability to reduce outdoor air during unoccupied times. The building water use is more than 30% better than code compliance. Water-saving measures include the installation of water-efficient fixtures, rainwater harvesting, bioswales and native plantings. Through these measures, the lab has also reduced the amount of stormwater runoff at the property. In addition to the ongoing energy and water savings, more than 97% of construction waste was diverted from landfill throughout the project. National Univ. of Ireland, Galway Biosciences Research Building, Galway, Ireland The second Project Award was presented to the National Univ. of Ireland, Galway, Biosciences Research Building (BRB), a research lab for regenerative medicine, chem-bio and cancer. The BRB represents a “minimum energy” approach. Through careful planning and high-/low-energy zoning, the BRB integrates traditional building techniques with innovative energy-conservation solutions, resulting in an energy savings of about 70% annually against a baseline of comparable projects. The high-/low-energy zoning strategy wraps the perimeter of the building with the lowest energy use spaces, allowing for maximum daylighting and natural ventilation, while the high-energy use spaces are zoned within the “thermal sweater” of the lower use spaces, using a double wall system to separate ventilation systems and optimizing building-wide energy use. The 2015 Go Beyond Award winners can also be found on I2SL’s Website at www.i2sl.org/conference/2015/awards.html. I2SL plans to hold the Go Beyond Awards again in 2016. A call for nominations will be sent in summer 2016 and awards will be presented at the 2016 I2SL Annual Conference, taking place September 25 through 27 in Kansas City, Mis. Learn more about the I2SL Annual Conference by visiting I2SL’s Website www.i2sl.org.


News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

A more complete and accurate wheat genome assembly is being made available to researchers, by The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). This landmark resource builds on international efforts in wheat genomics and will help wheat breeders accelerate their crop improvement programs and researchers to discover genes for key traits such as yield, nutrient use and bread making quality. A more complete and accurate wheat genome assembly is being made available to researchers, by The Genome Analysis Centre on Nov. 12, 2015. This landmark resource builds on international efforts in this area and will help wheat breeders accelerate their crop improvement programs and researchers to discover genes for key traits such as yield, nutrient use and bread making quality. As wheat is one of the world's most vital crops, the new genomics resources will help secure future food supplies. The wheat genome is now assembled into fewer and much larger chunks of DNA and covers regions that previous assemblies did not reach, such as complicated highly repetitive regions that form about 80 per cent of the DNA sequences. "Furthermore", said Matt Clark, Group Leader at TGAC (Co-Principal Investigator on the grant), who led the sequencing work, "wheat has a very large and complex genome made by the hybridisation of three closely related grasses, each of which has a large genome itself. It's has been a complex problem that has confounded scientists for several years." Reaching this milestone has been a major UK-based effort to identify and understand wheat genes and develop insights into the links between them to aid breeding programmes. In this latest development, billions of bases needed to be sequenced and the assembly (a gigantic jigsaw puzzle using billions of pieces that are very similar to each other) took three weeks to complete on one of the UK's largest supercomputers, which was specially configured for work on wheat. To assemble the wheat genome, Bernardo Clavijo, Algorithms Research and Development Team Leader at TGAC, made major modifications to a software, called DISCOVAR, developed by the Broad Institute, Cambridge US, (previously used for specialist applications in human genome assembly) in a collaboration established by Federica Di Palma, Director of Science of TGAC and Visiting Scientist at the Broad Institute. In order to ensure all the complexity of the DNA sequence was preserved during assembly, he made a series of major overhauls to the software: "We centred our approach on achieving maximal coverage of the genome, by distinguishing repeats. We were very careful to use newly generated high-quality input data." These advances now mean the software can assemble several wheat genomes with high speed and great precision. This sets the stage for rapidly generating useful assemblies of many varieties of wheat, which is an essential step for breeding and research. Mike Bevan from the John Innes Centre (JIC) (Co-Principal Investigator), said: "The capacity to sequence and assemble many wheat genomes efficiently breaks down major barriers to wheat crop improvement. We will now be able to exploit genetic variation from ancestral wheat varieties for crop improvement in new ways." Ksenia Krasileva, Group Leader at TGAC and TSL, who has conducted an initial assessment of the assemblies, said: "One of the most complex and large groups of genes in wheat are those that contribute to the nutritional and bread-making quality of the grain. These are all present in complete copies in the genome, suggesting other hard-to-assemble genes are also accurately represented." Steve Visscher, Deputy Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC), who funded the project, said: "BBSRC is delighted to have supported this work, which has made an important contribution to the G20-sponsored international Wheat Initiative. Many research groups are contributing to the global research effort to develop a fully assembled and aligned wheat genome sequence to access, understand and apply the richness of wheat genetic diversity to increase wheat yield, improve wheat's tolerance to stresses, pathogens and pests, and improve the sustainability wheat production. It is fitting that this important step in unravelling the complex wheat genome, which is five times the size of the human genome, has adapted specialist software developed for the human genome assembly." The early release of the data as a new resource for the world wheat researchers and breeders reflects the Wheat Initiative's founding principles of sharing data and seeking synergy through collaboration to help tackle the global grand challenge of feeding a population of nearly 10 billion by 2050. The data will be available for sequence searches (BLAST) at TGAC's Grassroot Genomics platform from November 12 2015. The full data set, with genes identified, will be publicly available from the European Bioinformatics Institute's (EBI) Ensembl database at the end of 2015. This is a key milestone in the BBSRC funded research project "Triticeae Genomics for Sustainable Agriculture" in collaboration with TGAC, JIC, the European Bioinformatics Institute and Rothamsted Research. Explore further: Scientists to sequence DNA of British wheat varieties

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