Perth, Australia
Perth, Australia

Murdoch University is a public university based in Perth, Western Australia with campuses also in Singapore and Dubai. It began operations as the state's second university in 1973, and accepted its first students in 1975. Its name is taken from Sir Walter Murdoch , the Founding Professor of English and former Chancellor of the University of Western Australia. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Who is not fascinated by the wonderful iridescent colours of butterfly wings? Those who want to find out more about this phenomenon will realise that often the colour is not generated by pigments, rather by periodic structures made of chitin, a structure-forming polysaccharide. These so-called photonic crystals give rise to structural colour by only reflecting specific wavelengths of the incoming solar spectrum. The resulting colour is not random, it serves as camouflage or signalling. But how do millions of these photonic crystals form within the tiny scales of butterfly wings? The opinions of scientists differ in this matter. In a cooperation with two leading experts in butterfly research, Dr. Bodo Wilts from University of Fribourg/Switzerland and Dr. Gerd Schröder-Turk from Murdoch University in Perth/Australia, as well as with Dr. Stephen Kelly from Zeiss-Xradia, the material scientists from Erlangen employed different high-resolution microscopy techniques to reveal the formation mechanism of these photonic crystal structures. The green butterfly Thecla opisena, which has its habitat in the Neotropics from Mexico to Venezuela, features separated photonic crystal domains that increase in size from the base to the tip of the wing scales. This is a so-far unique characteristic, distinct to other butterflies. The scientists interpret this finding by proposing photonic crystal growth was time-frozen at different stages of the metamorphosis. Hence, detailed microscopic analyses can be employed to obtain important insights into the formation processes of these crystals. 'High-resolution X-ray tomography provided essential findings for a deeper understanding of the formation mechanisms,' explains Prof. Dr. Erdmann Spiecker. The scientists assume that nascent chitin is extruded into a casting mould made of membranes. 'The unique capability of X-ray tomography to analyse the 3D structure of entire wing scales was used to clarify where the chitin was finally extruded from.' Dr. Benjamin Apeleo Zubiri, who analysed the 3D data in detail was amazed: 'The resolution of the reconstructed tomograms is so high, that we were able to clarify this question and, moreover, identify the chirality (handedness) of each individual photonic crystal.' Previously, this was only possible by using electron tomography, as the researchers from CENEM demonstrated in an earlier study. However, for the electron tomography investigation, the wing scales needed to be cut into little segments which caused serious disadvantages. Even though the material scientists have already been investigating these butterfly wing scales for several years, this is a rather exotic application at CENEM. 'We typically employ advanced microscopy and tomography techniques to enhance our knowledge of modern functional and energy materials and to optimise their properties for applications,' explains Prof. Erdmann Spiecker. 'The new X-ray microscope will also enable inimitable insights in such areas as the investigation of porous structures for catalytic applications or the search for tiny faults in turbine materials.' Photonic crystals are also relevant to modern materials science. These intriguing 3D structures with their unique optical properties may serve as prototypes for novel functional materials with applications in fields such as photovoltaics.


News Article | May 29, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Perth is pumping recycled water into the underground aquifers that provide its drinking water supply as part of a strategy to drought-proof the city against climate change. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on Monday approved an application for the Western Australian water authority to double the capacity of its groundwater replenishment scheme, bringing the amount of recycled water pumped into the Gnangara Mound every year to 28 gigalitres. The most recent proposal would see the Water Corporation build a 12.8km pipeline from a proposed recycled water plant at Beenyup in the northern suburbs to two different aquifer points, where it will be pumped into Leederville and Yarragadee aquifers. About 14 gigalitres of wastewater per year would be processed and treated to potable standard at the new Beenyup recycled water facility, before being pumped into the aquifers. The same amount of water will extracted from those aquifers every year to be treated again and used as drinking water. Murdoch University professor of desalination and water treatment, Wendell Ela, said pumping recycled water into the underground system rather than using it directly once it was treated to a potable standard, reduced “the yuk factor”. “That’s inevitable and it’s not a bad thing because any time we talk about water we should be interested in the water we are getting and the quality we are getting,” Ela told Guardian Australia. Ela said the aquifer also provided a “very large, very cheap storage tank,” which allowed the water corporation to replenish groundwater at a steady rate but only withdraw water when necessary. “You want it to essentially be a net zero balance,” he said. The Water Corporation spokeswoman Clare Lugar said the groundwater replenishment scheme was part of a long-term plan to secure water supplies in response to climate change. Lugar said the proposal ticked two of the organisation’s three strategies for water security, the third being encouraging people to use less water. “Groundwater replenishment ticks two of these boxes - increases water recycling and developing a new source,” she said. “It is a climate-independent source of water, and the new plant at Beenyup will have the capacity to supply the same amount of water used by 100,000 homes each year.” The scheme is part of a project to make Perth’s water supply “climate independent” by 2022. Without intervention, Perth is projected to have a supply gap of 70 gigalitres a year over the next 10 years, the EPA report said. By 2060, one fifth of Perth’s water supply is expected to be replenished groundwater. Construction on the project begins in July.


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

It has only been one year since the material scientists around Prof. Erdmann Spiecker from the Centre for Nanoanalysis and Electron Microscopy (CENEM) at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) were granted funding for one of the world's best X-ray microscopes and they could already help unravelling an open question in butterfly research with fascinating 3D analyses. Their results have recently been published in the renowned scientific journal Science Advances. Who is not fascinated by the wonderful iridescent colours of butterfly wings? Those who want to find out more about this phenomenon will realise that often the colour is not generated by pigments, rather by periodic structures made of chitin, a structure-forming polysaccharide. These so-called photonic crystals give rise to structural colour by only reflecting specific wavelengths of the incoming solar spectrum. The resulting colour is not random, it serves as camouflage or signalling. But how do millions of these photonic crystals form within the tiny scales of butterfly wings? The opinions of scientists differ in this matter. In a cooperation with two leading experts in butterfly research, Dr. Bodo Wilts from University of Fribourg/Switzerland and Dr. Gerd Schröder-Turk from Murdoch University in Perth/Australia, as well as with Dr. Stephen Kelly from Zeiss-Xradia, the material scientists from Erlangen employed different high-resolution microscopy techniques to reveal the formation mechanism of these photonic crystal structures. The green butterfly Thecla opisena, which has its habitat in the Neotropics from Mexico to Venezuela, features separated photonic crystal domains that increase in size from the base to the tip of the wing scales. This is a so-far unique characteristic, distinct to other butterflies. The scientists interpret this finding by proposing photonic crystal growth was time-frozen at different stages of the metamorphosis. Hence, detailed microscopic analyses can be employed to obtain important insights into the formation processes of these crystals. 'High-resolution X-ray tomography provided essential findings for a deeper understanding of the formation mechanisms,' explains Prof. Dr. Erdmann Spiecker. The scientists assume that nascent chitin is extruded into a casting mould made of membranes. 'The unique capability of X-ray tomography to analyse the 3D structure of entire wing scales was used to clarify where the chitin was finally extruded from.' Dr. Benjamin Apeleo Zubiri, who analysed the 3D data in detail was amazed: 'The resolution of the reconstructed tomograms is so high, that we were able to clarify this question and, moreover, identify the chirality (handedness) of each individual photonic crystal.' Previously, this was only possible by using electron tomography, as the researchers from CENEM demonstrated in an earlier study. However, for the electron tomography investigation, the wing scales needed to be cut into little segments which caused serious disadvantages. Even though the material scientists have already been investigating these butterfly wing scales for several years, this is a rather exotic application at CENEM. 'We typically employ advanced microscopy and tomography techniques to enhance our knowledge of modern functional and energy materials and to optimise their properties for applications,' explains Prof. Erdmann Spiecker. 'The new X-ray microscope will also enable inimitable insights in such areas as the investigation of porous structures for catalytic applications or the search for tiny faults in turbine materials.' Photonic crystals are also relevant to modern materials science. These intriguing 3D structures with their unique optical properties may serve as prototypes for novel functional materials with applications in fields such as photovoltaics.


Patent
Murdoch University | Date: 2015-04-03

The invention discloses a method of removing dissolved elements from a liquid. The method comprises a first heating step for heating the liquid using a first heat source, a plurality of distillation steps for purifying the liquid heated by the first heating step, each of the plurality of distillation steps comprising at least one evaporation step and at least one condensation step, and a second heating step, using a second heat source to heat a plurality of flashing chambers, each generating a volume of vapor; wherein the vapor from at least one of the plurality of flashing chambers of the second heating step is introduced into at least one of the plurality of distillation steps.


Patent
Murdoch University | Date: 2017-02-22

An osmotic separation process for the extraction of a solvent from a first solution with low osmotic pressure, in a first compartment to a second solution with higher osmotic pressure in the second compartment. The first solution and the second solution are separated by a semi-permeable membrane. An hydraulic pressure gradient is applied and on the first compartment to enhance the water permeation from the first solution to the second solution


Patent
Murdoch University | Date: 2015-04-14

An osmotic separation process for the extraction of a solvent from a first solution with low osmotic pressure, in a first compartment to a second solution with higher osmotic pressure in the second compartment. The first solution and the second solution are separated by a semi-permeable membrane. An hydraulic pressure gradient is applied and on the first compartment to enhance the water permeation from the first solution to the second solution


Roossinck M.J.,Pennsylvania State University | Roossinck M.J.,Murdoch University
Annual Review of Genetics | Year: 2012

Viral metagenomics is the study of viruses in environmental samples, using next generation sequencing that produces very large data sets. For plant viruses, these studies are still relatively new, but are already indicating that our current knowledge grossly underestimates the diversity of these viruses. Some plant virus studies are using thousands of individual plants so that each sequence can be traced back to its precise host. These studies should allow for deeper ecological and evolutionary analyses. The finding of so many new plant viruses that do not cause any obvious symptoms in wild plant hosts certainly changes our perception of viruses and how they interact with their hosts. The major difficulty in these (as in all) metagenomic studies continues to be the need for better bioinformatics tools to decipher the large data sets. The implications of this new information on plant viruses for international agriculture remain to be addressed. © 2012 by Annual Reviews.


Thompson R.C.A.,Murdoch University
International Journal for Parasitology | Year: 2013

This review examines parasite zoonoses and wildlife in the context of the One Health triad that encompasses humans, domestic animals, wildlife and the changing ecosystems in which they live. Human (anthropogenic) activities influence the flow of all parasite infections within the One Health triad and the nature and impact of resulting spillover events are examined. Examples of spillover from wildlife to humans and/or domestic animals, and vice versa, are discussed, as well as emerging issues, particularly the need for parasite surveillance of wildlife populations. Emphasis is given to Trypanosoma cruzi and related species in Australian wildlife, Trichinella, Echinococcus, Giardia, Baylisascaris, Toxoplasma and Leishmania. © 2013 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.


Objective: To review mechanisms that might contribute to sensory disturbances and sympatheticallymaintained pain in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Background: CRPS is associated with a range of sensory and autonomic abnormalities. In a subpopulation of patients, sympathetic nervous system arousal and intradermal injection of adrenergic agonists intensify pain. Results: Mechanisms responsible for sensory abnormalities in CRPS include sensitization of primary afferent nociceptors and spinothalamic tract neurons, disinhibition of central nociceptive neurons, and reorganization of thalamo-cortical somatosensory maps. Proposed mechanisms of sympathetically-maintained pain include adrenergic excitation of sensitized nociceptors in the CRPSaffected limb, and interaction between processes within the central nervous system that modulate nociception and emotional responses. Central mechanisms could involve adrenergic facilitation of nociceptive transmission in the dorsal horn or thalamus, and/or depletion of bulbo-spinal opioids or tolerance to their effects. Conclusions: Sympathetic neural activity might contribute to pain and sensory disturbances in CRPS by feeding into nociceptive circuits at the site of injury or elsewhere in the CRPS-affected limb, within the dorsal horn, or via thalamo-cortical projections.


Borowitzka M.A.,Murdoch University
Journal of Applied Phycology | Year: 2013

Microalgae (including the cyanobacteria) are established commercial sources of high-value chemicals such as β-carotene, astaxanthin, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosahexaenoic acid, phycobilin pigments and algal extracts for use in cosmetics. Microalgae are also increasingly playing a role in cosmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and functional foods. In the last few years, there has been renewed interest in microalgae as commercial sources of these and other high-value compounds, driven in part by the attempts to develop commercially viable biofuels from microalgae. This paper briefly reviews the main existing and potential high-value products which can be derived from microalgae and considers their commercial development with a particular focus on the various aspects which need to be considered on the path to commercialisation, using the experience gained in the commercialisation of existing algae products. These considerations include the existing and potential market size and market characteristics of the product, competition by chemically synthesised products or by 'natural' compounds from other organisms such as fungi, bacteria, higher plants, etc., product quality requirements and assurance, and the legal and regulatory environment. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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