Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

University of Queensland launches Centre for Horticultural Science

A new Centre for Horticultural Science will be launched at The University of Queensland in 2018 to respond to the demand for plant-based foods, vegetables, fruit and nuts that improve human health.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the centre would build on the ability of UQ’s world-class horticultural researchers to position Australia to compete in the rapidly evolving global fresh fruit and vegetable trade.

He said horticulture was one of the largest and most diverse industries in Australian agriculture, accounting for about 18 per cent of its total value.

“Vegetables, fruit and nuts are key to our nutritional and physical wellbeing and we know there is great potential for science to boost the yields and nutritional content of horticultural foods even further,” Professor Høj said.

“We’ve seen from the rising global demand for avocados that there is increasing consumer awareness of the importance of horticulture to health and that science can sustainably increase supply to meet that demand.

“In partnership with growers and industry collaborators, this new Centre for Horticultural Science will help grow the future of horticulture in Australia as a key domestic and premium export market.”

The new centre will be led by agricultural biotechnologist Professor Neena Mitter.

Professor Mitter said there were many opportunities to grow horticulture through on-farm management systems and the high-tech approaches of big data, genomics and biotechnology.

“The majority of horticultural products grown in Australia are sold domestically, but Queensland is in a good position to access the Asian markets,” she said.

“The centre will leverage the expertise of horticultural scientists in the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) who work collaboratively with our partners in the Queensland government and with industry in the areas of horticultural crop protection and crop improvement.”

Professor Mitter aims to double the $37 million worth of contracted research work currently undertaken by QAAFI’s horticultural scientists over five years.

She has an impressive record in her field, having pioneered world-first techniques in developing a stem cell multiplication method to supply up to 500 times more avocado plants to industry than was previously possible, with minimal additional resources.

She pioneered the non-genetically modified non-toxic BioClay crop pest and disease protection product, reducing the need for pesticides.

Professor Mitter has collaborated with government, industry and philanthropic organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supported the early development of her BioClay product through a Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations Award.

Source: The University of Queensland

Publication date: 11/23/2017



Other news in this sector:

7/20/2018 India: Israeli technology helps grow tomatoes in off-season
7/20/2018 Outcry in Germany for granted GMO subsidies to South European growers
7/19/2018 How to achieve better hydroponic germination rates
7/19/2018 Corn salad: a small, niche market
7/19/2018 Protection of resources and environment in spinach production
7/19/2018 "Even if robots are replacing human hands, they can't take over everything"
7/19/2018 UAE: Sweet tomatoes grown with no soil and less water
7/13/2018 Algeria: Growing barley in the desert
7/12/2018 The future of farming in Africa
7/10/2018 India: Centre of Excellence for Vegetables grows without soil
7/9/2018 UK: Making use of brine wash for algae
7/6/2018 UK: Manipulating growth rates at the plant scale
7/6/2018 Systemic cultivation can boost results in Chinese wall greenhouses
7/3/2018 UK: "Long-term water plans needed as temperatures soar"
7/2/2018 "Partnerships of paramount importance for Chinese horticulture"
6/26/2018 "Automatic gutter system ready for world wide distribution"
6/26/2018 Scientific proof of dissolved CO2 foliar spray plant benefits on lettuce
6/26/2018 How a cultivation test works
6/25/2018 New climate control techniques for modern agriculture
6/25/2018 "Filling the gap between large TOV and medium TOV"