Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

Rockhampton, Australia

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

Rockhampton, Australia
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Topp B.L.,Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2016

A rapid rate and high percentage of macadamia nut germination, together with production of vigorous seedlings, are required by nurseries and breeding programs. Germination of nuts is typically protracted, however, and rarely reaches 100%. Many studies have been conducted into macadamia germination, but most have assessed percent germination only. This study investigated the effects of various treatments on percent germination, germination rate, and plant, shoot and root dry weights. The treatments tested were combinations of: (i) soaking or not soaking seeds in a dilute fungicide solution prior to planting; (ii) four different planting media; and (iii) leaving seed trays open or placing them inside clear plastic bags. For freshly harvested nuts, sowing in potting mix under clear plastic and without soaking produced the highest percent germination and germination rate, the largest shoots, and longest lateral roots.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Project to sequence genomes of top Brahman bulls in Australia identifies 7-10 percent of Bos taurus genes lurking in the breed's genome -- but do these genes affect the animal's performance? The genes of 50 top bulls have been sequenced in an effort to understand how genes from temperate cattle have influenced important production traits in the modern Brahman breed. The Sequencing the Legends project is led by Professor Steve Moore Centre for Animal Sciences Director at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), a combined University of Queensland and Queensland Government research institute. "We are unpacking the entire DNA sequences of 50 influential animals then honing in on the genes associated with specific traits in order to capture the best genetics in the Brahman breed," he said. "Understanding the genetics underlying production traits in Australian tropically adapted cattle is essential for further breed development and crossbreeding strategies," Professor Moore said. "Brahmans are adapted to tropical climates and there have been more than 300,000 years of separation between Bos indicus cattle such as Brahman and the Bos taurus cattle breeds that are important to temperate production systems." Queensland is home to almost half of Australia's beef cattle - with a mostly Brahman influence. But the Brahman genome has been found to contain around seven to 10 per cent Bos taurus genes, a legacy of the breed formation. "We were not sure how Bos taurus genes in the Brahman genome might affect the animals performance," Professor Moore said. "Is it just a random mix or have specific taurine genes been retained in Brahmans because they were associated with desirable production traits?" Professor Moore, his QAAFI colleague Professor Ben Hayes, and Dr Brian Burns from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) lead the research team that is sequencing the DNA from Brahman sires - some dating as far back as the mid-1950s. DAF and the Australian Brahman Breeders Association were instrumental in selecting and locating the most influential sires for the project. Results from the Sequencing the Legends project are still being processed but indicate that the Bos taurus genes lurking in the Brahman genome may have been selected for important production traits associated with fertility, growth and temperament. "This data will help us to better direct breeding decisions and thus boost the productivity and profitability of the northern beef industry," Professor Moore said. This project has been jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the University of Queensland.


Conyers M.K.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Bell M.J.,Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation | Wilhelm N.S.,South Australian Research And Development Institute | Bell R.,Murdoch University | And 2 more authors.
Crop and Pasture Science | Year: 2013

Soil testing remains a most valuable tool for assessing the fertiliser requirement of crops. The relationship between soil tests (generally taken from surface soil) and relative yield (RY) response to fertiliser is subject to the influence of environment (e.g. water, temperature) and management (e.g. cultivation, sowing date). As such, the degree of precision is often low when the soil test calibration is based on a wide range of independent experiments on many soil types over many years by many different operators. Hence, the 90% RY target used in soil test interpretation is best described by a critical range (critical concentration and confidence interval) for a given soil test rather than a single critical value. The present Better Fertiliser Decisions for Crops (BFDC) National Database, and the BFDC Interrogator that interacts with the database, provide a great advance over traditional formats and experiment-specific critical values because it allows the use of filters to refine the critical range for specific agronomic conditions. However, as searches become more specific (region, soil type) the quantity of data available to estimate a critical range becomes more vulnerable to data paucity, to outliers, and to clusters of localised experiments. Hence, appropriate training of the users of this database will ensure that the strengths and limitations of the BFDC National Database and BFDC Interrogator are properly understood. Additionally, the lack of standardised metadata for sites within the database makes it generally impossible to isolate the effects on critical values of the specific management or environmental factors listed earlier, which are therefore best determined by specific studies. Finally, the database is dominated (60%) by responses of wheat to nitrogen and phosphorus, meaning that relatively few studies are available for responses by pulses (other than narrow leaf lupins) or oilseeds (other than canola), especially for potassium and sulfur. Moreover, limited data are available for current cropping systems and varieties. However, the identification of these gaps can now be used to focus future research on the crops, nutrients, soils, regions, and management practices where data are lacking. The value of metadata and the need for standardised protocols for nutrition experiments were key lessons. © CSIRO 2013.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: phys.org

The Sequencing the Legends project is led by Professor Steve Moore Centre for Animal Sciences Director at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), a combined University of Queensland and Queensland Government research institute. "We are unpacking the entire DNA sequences of 50 influential animals then honing in on the genes associated with specific traits in order to capture the best genetics in the Brahman breed," he said. "Understanding the genetics underlying production traits in Australian tropically adapted cattle is essential for further breed development and crossbreeding strategies," Professor Moore said. "Brahmans are adapted to tropical climates and there have been more than 300,000 years of separation between Bos indicus cattle such as Brahman and the Bos taurus cattle breeds that are important to temperate production systems." Queensland is home to almost half of Australia's beef cattle - with a mostly Brahman influence. But the Brahman genome has been found to contain around seven to 10 per cent Bos taurus genes, a legacy of the breed formation. "We were not sure how Bos taurus genes in the Brahman genome might affect the animals performance," Professor Moore said. "Is it just a random mix or have specific taurine genes been retained in Brahmans because they were associated with desirable production traits?" Professor Moore, his QAAFI colleague Professor Ben Hayes, and Dr Brian Burns from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) lead the research team that is sequencing the DNA from Brahman sires - some dating as far back as the mid-1950s. DAF and the Australian Brahman Breeders Association were instrumental in selecting and locating the most influential sires for the project. Results from the Sequencing the Legends project are still being processed but indicate that the Bos taurus genes lurking in the Brahman genome may have been selected for important production traits associated with fertility, growth and temperament. "This data will help us to better direct breeding decisions and thus boost the productivity and profitability of the northern beef industry," Professor Moore said.


News Article | November 16, 2015
Site: phys.org

Researchers from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) forecast a relatively healthy future for sorghum crops, but see challenges looming for wheat production. Project leader Professor Graeme Hammer said the research drew on major global climate models to predict rainfall and temperature changes and run simulations for the next 30 years, to understand the impact on cropping in Queensland. QAAFI is a partnership between the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government. Professor Hammer said the outlook for sorghum was not all bad, although impacts varied from region to region. "Providing that we start breeding sorghum for heat stress adaptation now, the modelling shows that in the next 30 years there is not likely to be much more variability than there currently is," Professor Hammer said. "Even with increasing heat stress events and reduced summer rainfall predicted under the climate modelling, the impact on sorghum yields to 2050 are offset by the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, which enables the sorghum plant to use water more efficiently for growth." Professor Hammer said the situation was more challenging for wheat crops. "While the modelling shows there will be a reduction in summer rainfall, when sorghum crops are planted, there is even more of a decrease in winter rainfall, when wheat crops are planted, which increases risk of drought stress," Professor Hammer said. "However, increased temperature will tend to shorten the growing season and counter the effect of limited water supply to some extent." He said increasing temperatures would cut wheat yield in some regions. Professor Hammer said researchers from QAAFI, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) were working with the Grains Research and Development Corporation to improve the heat tolerance and water use efficiency in sorghum and wheat crops to deal with climate risks. The research is supported by a $4 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for sorghum "drought-proofing" work. "Sorghum is a staple food for about 500 million people around the world, and had significant nutritional qualities," Professor Hammer said. Professor Hammer will present an analysis of projected heat and drought stresses across Queensland to 2050 at the TropAg conference in Brisbane this week. Explore further: Global warming affects crop yields, but it's the water not the heat


News Article | March 29, 2016
Site: phys.org

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation's Dr Lee Hickey said humans domesticated wheat about 10,000 years ago. "Modern breeding and a switch to monoculture cropping has greatly improved yield and quality, but the lack of genetic variation has caused crops to become more vulnerable to new diseases and climate change," he said. "Diversity in ancient strains could hold the key to the future." Dr Hickey said disease and drought cost the industry millions of dollars every year, and climate change was likely to make the situation worse. Fortunately for today's researchers, Russian scientist Nikolai Vavilov devoted his life to the improvement of cereal crops. During the early 1900s, Vavilov travelled the world collecting seeds that he stored in a seed bank in Leningrad, now known as the N.I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Genetic Resources. "Vavilov's unique seed collection represents a snap shot of ancient wheats grown around the world prior to modern breeding," Dr Hickey said. Following in the footsteps of the Russian scientist, UQ PhD student Adnan Riaz has performed the world's first genome-wide analysis of Vavilov's seeds. "A total of 295 diverse wheats were examined using 34,000 DNA markers," Mr Riaz said. "The genomic analysis revealed a massive array of genes that are absent in modern Australian wheat cultivars. "The ancient genes could offer valuable sources of disease resistance or drought tolerance." The Hickey Lab has offers the research community open-access to this resource, including the pure seed of the ancient wheats, along with DNA marker information. "We hope this will empower scientists and wheat breeders to rediscover genetic diversity lying dormant in our seed banks," Dr Hickey said. Explore further: Ancient genes used to produce salt-tolerant wheat


Rebetzke G.J.,ACSIRO Plant Industry | Chenu K.,Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation | Biddulph B.,Western Australia Locked Bag | Moeller C.,University of Tasmania | And 5 more authors.
Functional Plant Biology | Year: 2013

Field evaluation of germplasm for performance under water and heat stress is challenging. Field environments are variable and unpredictable, and genotypeenvironment interactions are difficult to interpret if environments are not well characterised. Numerous traits, genes and quantitative trait loci have been proposed for improving performance but few have been used in variety development. This reflects the limited capacity of commercial breeding companies to screen for these traits and the absence of validation in field environments relevant to breeding companies, and because little is known about the economic benefit of selecting one particular trait over another. The value of the proposed traits or genes is commonly not demonstrated in genetic backgrounds of value to breeding companies. To overcome this disconnection between physiological trait breeding and uptake by breeding companies, three field sites representing the main environment types encountered across the Australian wheatbelt were selected to form a set of managed environment facilities (MEFs). Each MEF manages soil moisture stress through irrigation, and the effects of heat stress through variable sowing dates. Field trials are monitored continuously for weather variables and changes in soil water and canopy temperature in selected probe genotypes, which aids in decisions guiding irrigation scheduling and sampling times. Protocols have been standardised for an essential core set of measurements so that phenotyping yield and other traits are consistent across sites and seasons. MEFs enable assessment of a large number of traits across multiple genetic backgrounds in relevant environments, determine relative trait value, and facilitate delivery of promising germplasm and high value traits into commercial breeding programs. © 2013 CSIRO.


PubMed | Federal University of Ceará, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland and CSIRO
Type: | Journal: Animal reproduction science | Year: 2015

The objective was to determine the relationship between seminal plasma proteins and sperm morphology in Bos indicus bulls of the Brahman breed. Fifty-six 24-month-old Australian Brahman bulls were electroejaculated and samples were examined to determine the percentage of morphologically normal sperm (PNS24) and the seminal plasma protein composition was identified and quantified by 2-D gel electrophoresis. The total integrated optical density of 152 seminal plasma protein spots (SPPs) across all gels was determined using the PDQuest software version 8.0 (Bio Rad, USA). Using a single regression mixed model with the density of individual spots as a covariate for PNS24, 17 SPPs were significantly associated with PNS24 (p<0.05). A multiple regression analyses of these SPPs, using three models; non-parametric Tree Model, Generalized Additive Model, and a step-wise selection method were conducted, and 6 SPPs could be used to predict PNS24; four SPPs had positive and two had negative association with PNS24. Together these spots explained 35% of the phenotypic variation in PNS24. Using mass spectrometry (MALDI-ToF and TripleToF-MS) the SPPs with positive relationship contained mainly apolipoprotein A-I (1310), protein DJ-1 and glutathione peroxidase 3 (2308), phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (6402) and apolipoprotein A-I and secretoglobin family 1D member (8008). The SPPs inversely associated with PNS24 were clusterin/seminal plasma protein A3 (1411) and epididymal secretory protein E1 (8108). This is the first comprehensive report on the association between seminal plasma protein composition in Bos indicus Brahman bulls and sperm morphology.


News Article | January 21, 2016
Site: phys.org

UQ Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) Senior Research Fellow Dr Peter James said flies were a nuisance for workers and could carry disease. "The spores of a Queensland strain of the Metarhizium anisoplaie fungus have been developed as an ultra-low volume spray that attaches to the external surface of the fly or is ingested by the flies and kills them," he said. "The spray is very safe, has no effects on humans or animals, and is part of an integrated control approach to suppress fly populations." "It sticks to the surface of flies and also to vegetation around feedlots, and is not sprayed on cattle." Dr James said flies were beginning to develop resistance to chemicals now used in feedlots and the fungal spray provided a clean, residue-free, safe and sustainable alternative. It is being tested at feedlots in the Dalby area in Western Queensland. "A lot of work has gone into isolating different strains of the fungus that are effective against flies, then testing different ways of mixing it and applying it in an ultra-low volume formulation." He said the spray did not kill flies immediately. "This is very much about suppression of the population rather than a 'hit them and die immediately' approach, as we do not want to knock out the natural predators and parasites of the flies, which would ultimately lead to a resurgence in pest numbers." Dr James said integrated pest management systems involved good sanitation, biological agents and the focused use of insecticides to reduce fly populations, rather than relying on insecticidal control methods alone. Explore further: Sex-change flies to combat one of Australia's worst pests


Xu C.-Y.,Griffith University | Xu C.-Y.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Hosseini-Bai S.,Griffith University | Hosseini-Bai S.,University of The Sunshine Coast | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2015

Biochar has significant potential to improve crop performance. This study examined the effect of biochar application on the photosynthesis and yield of peanut crop grown on two soil types. The commercial peanut cultivar Middleton was grown on red ferrosol and redoxi-hydrosol (Queensland, Australia) amended with a peanut shell biochar gradient (0, 0.375, 0.750, 1.50, 3.00 and 6.00 %, w/w, equivalent up to 85 t ha−1) in a glasshouse pot experiment. Biomass and pod yield, photosynthesis-[CO2] response parameters, leaf characteristics and soil properties (carbon, nitrogen (N) and nutrients) were quantified. Biochar significantly improved peanut biomass and pod yield up to 2- and 3-folds respectively in red ferrosol and redoxi-hydrosol. A modest (but significant) biochar-induced improvement of the maximum electron transport rate and saturating photosynthetic rate was observed for red ferrosol. This response was correlated to increased leaf N and accompanied with improved soil available N and biological N fixation. Biochar application also improved the availability of other soil nutrients, which appeared critical in improving peanut performance, especially on infertile redoxi-hydrosol. Our study suggests that application of peanut shell derived biochar has strong potential to improve peanut yield on red ferrosol and redoxi-hydrosol. Biochar soil amendment can affect leaf N status and photosynthesis, but the effect varied with soil type. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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