We can’t easily monitor the health
of plants, by the time we see that they’re sick it’s usually too late to save
that. That’s an issue for your house plants, a field of wheat, orchards and
Karina Khambatta has developed a
way to use the waxy surface of leaves to monitor their health.
Plants need water, but if that water also comes with a hefty dose of salt it can kill the plant. But the ice plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, has a clever way of storing salt in special cells, allowing it to thrive in saline coastal areas.
“Trait-based ecology” enables Macquarie University’s Mark Westoby to explain patterns of species occurrence and abundance and to understand the impacts of climate change and changing patterns of land use. He received the $55,000 NSW Scientist of the Year.
Nanocapsules for drugs delivery: Frank Caruso is making miniature capsules that could better deliver drugs for cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular diseases. He won one of the 2014 Victoria Prizes for Science & Innovation worth $50,000.
A farmer whose onion paddock is hit by the fungal disease “white rot” faces the loss not only of that crop but of productive use of the field for several years. Relief could be at hand, however, thanks to a novel granulated fungicide now being tested in the field in Victoria.
“In the case of white rot, there is no existing commercially acceptable treatment and if a farmer has an infestation in their field they can’t use it for onions or similar crops for up to 15 years,” says Anthony Flynn, managing director of the agricultural chemical research company Eureka! AgResearch. “They’ve just had to move the crop on to the next paddock.”
Up to 30 per cent of the fuel needed for Australia’s road transport and the aviation industry could be generated through biofuels, creating tens of thousands of jobs and adding $5 billion to Australia’s economy.
And one of the prime sources of biofuel, according to Southern Cross University’s Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics, could be eucalypts.