by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Bio Technology : October 2009
14 Australasian BioTechnology Volume 19 • Number 3 • October 2009 AusBioFEATURE --- AusBiotech 2009 mechanisms underlying this virulence. RNAi methodology has been developed and successfully implemented against salivary gland genes in the pea aphid. The successful proof of gene silencing approaches has resulted in individual aphids being unable to feed on plants, resulting in high mortality rates. Some eighty per cent of stored grains in Australia are treated with the fumigant, phosphine, to which insect pests of stored grain are developing resistance. The molecular genetics of phosphine resistance are being studied to deliver tools, specific resistance gene markers. These will be integrated into resistance monitoring programs, providing industry with accurate, reliable early warning of resistance at a level of speed and precision never before possible. The field of diagnostics, too, offers tools in support of biosecurity. The CRCNPB, Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries and the Australian Biosecurity CRC for Emerging Infectious Disease have partnered with Nanomics, to develop a universal diagnostic platform. Colloidal suspensions of nanobeads can be synthesised from materials such as silica, polymers and noble metals such as silver. A range of biological moieties such as oligonucleotides and antibodies can be bound to these nanobeads, which can then be used to detect pathogens in cell extracts or environmental samples. It is known that insects emit a range of volatile chemicals as a result of feeding and for various purposes, such as sex-attractants. The CRCNPB is determining the feasibility of using chemosensory technology to analyse insect volatiles to detect hidden infestations in grain bulks. Given these examples, biotechnology can be expected to deliver solutions to many emerging biosecurity problems for plants, animals and people. The emergence of biosecurity as an issue for people, animals and plants owes much to the speed of contemporary travel and the ease with which organisms can be transported around the world. The 2009 swine fu pandemic is a case in point. Plant biosecurity, the particular concern of the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity (CRCNPB), has been defined as "The protection of the economy, environment and human health from negative impacts associated with pests, diseases and weeds." An example of a potential negative impact is the spread of a strain of the plant pathogen 'stem rust' that is putting every wheat-producing region of the world at risk. Originating in Uganda, strain 'Ug99' spread via weather systems into the Horn of Africa to the Middle East, and is now invading the subcontinent. Nobel Laureate, Dr Norman Borlaug, father of the 'Green Revolution', has stated, "If we fail to contain Ug99 it could bring calamity to tens-of-millions of farmers and hundreds- of-millions of consumers." Given a biosecurity challenge of this magnitude, scientists need to use every technique possible to address the risk, including biotechnological approaches. In fact, the gene technologies could be the key to solving the Ug99 problem. Conventional plant breeding is probably too slow to deliver resistant cultivars and avoid devastation of the crop but transgenic approaches could speed up the process. Russian wheat aphid is a pest in all major wheat growing areas except Australia. It is essential that resistant lines of wheat and barley are available should an incursion occur, however, this pest is known to have virulent strains that can each feed successfully on some resistant lines. CRCNPB biotechnologists have been studying the Biosecurity: a biotechnological future? By Professor John Lovett, Chairman of the Board, Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity. Presenter and session chair at AusBiotech 2009 4.00pm – 5.30pm, Thursday 29 October Biosecurity Professor John Lovett, Chairman of the Board, Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity.