Month: April 2014

New Publication – TraitCapture

The APPF team of the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre in Canberra has published the following paper.

Brown TB, Cheng R, Sirault XRR, Rungrat T, Murray KD, Trtilek M, Furbank RT, Badger M, Pogson BJ, Borevitz JO (2014) TraitCapture: genomic and environment modelling of plant phenomic data. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 2014, 18:73–79.

TraitCaptureAgriculture requires a second green revolution to provide increased food, fodder, fiber, fuel and soil fertility for a growing population while being more resilient to extreme weather on finite land, water, and nutrient resources. Advances in phenomics, genomics and environmental control/sensing can now be used to directly select yield and resilience traits from large collections of germplasm if software can integrate among the technologies. Traits could be Captured throughout development and across environments from multi-dimensional phenotypes, by applying Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to identify causal genes and background variation and functional structural plant models (FSPMs) to predict plant growth and reproduction in target environments. TraitCapture should be applicable to both controlled and field environments and would allow breeders to simulate regional variety trials to pre-select for increased productivity under challenging environments.


New HTP Project to Investigate Salinity Tolerance in Chickpea

AmitHigh levels of soil salinity affect the performance of chickpea and other salt sensitive crops in many parts of the world, including farming land in Australia and India. The APPF’s high-throughput phenotyping platform at The Plant Accelerator will be used in June 2014 to screen 1,056 chickpea plants to determine traits associated with salinity stress response in chickpea. Physiological and genotypic information of the phenotyped plants will enable the identification of QTL controlling aspects of salinity tolerance in chickpea. In the long term, this will support breeding programs developing salt tolerant chickpea varieties.

The project undertaken by Dr Tim Sutton’s group at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) on the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus is part of a large scale AISRF funded collaboration involving research groups at SARDI, the University of Western Australia, India Consortium, RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland.

Novel QTLs Identified

Researchers in the Salt Group at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics have identified a number of novel quantitative trait loci for salinity tolerance in wheat and barley using the non-destructive imaging technologies available at The Plant Accelerator of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility. The traits identified relate to how the growth rate of the plant responds to salinity stress, which in the past has been difficult to quantify before the advance in imaging technologies. Dr Stuart Roy, ACPFG, Adelaide, SA

Battle of the Plants – Register Now

BattlePlantsIMageFrom 3 June 2014 students from science classes around Australia will be competing against the APPF scientists at the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC) in an attempt to outgrow and outsmart them. Science students from participating classes will each be given a plant growing kit and a set of minimum growth conditions. Then it is up to the students in collaboration with their teachers to conduct a plant growth experiment and attempt to grow the biggest, greenest Brachypodium plant in Australia. The student who grows the biggest, greenest plant and in the process grows a plant bigger than our scientists will win a major prize for themselves and their school. Registrations are now open for secondary school teachers to register their class. Info

APPF Accelerates Saudi Arabian Soil Salinity Research

The APPF team at The Plant Accelerator in Adelaide is currently undertaking a large scale project for King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to investigate salt tolerance in barley. Research undertaken at KAUST aims to improve desert agriculture by increasing the tolerance to salinity of existing crops, such as wheat, barley and tomatoes. Whilst Professor Mark Tester’s group at KAUST is undertaking large scale experiments in the field in Saudi Arabia, the project at The Plant Accelerator involves the phenotyping of over 4,000 barley plants grown in the facility’s Smarthouses. Further information


Open House – The Plant Accelerator Adelaide

The Plant Accelerator will open its doors to the public on 3 & 4 May 2014 as part of Open House Adelaide. Join us for a guided tour to learn about the research undertaken at the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility. For details visit