TWO Australian innovators will be made fellows of the prestigious Australian Academy of Sciences today, in recognition of their contributions to cropping.
Plant physiologist Emeritus Professor John Patrick, University of Newcastle is one of 21 scientists to be recognised as a fellow of the Academy this year.
He heads on of Australia’s leading centres for plant research and his work may boost crop yields.
Prof. Patrick is investigating mechanisms that control transport of photosynthetic-produced sugars, which are the building blocks of plant growth.
Moving through a ‘pipeline’ in the plant known as the phloem, these sugars can flow up to 100 metres in the tallest trees.
The sugars support the growth in non-photosynthetic parts of plants such as roots, stems, flowers, fruits and grains.
Understanding how sugar flow is regulated through the phloem may enable new technology to boost crops.
Prof. Patrick is also researching the metabolic demand of fruit and grain.
Understanding how the demand for resources is regulated may also lead to crop yield improvements.
CSIRO chief research scientist Dr Evans Lagudah is another ag scientist to be made a fellow.
Dr Lagudah is a molecular geneticist working on disease resistance in crop plants.
He provided the first insights into the quantitative wheat rust disease resistance trait, Adult Plant Resistance (APR). He cloned a new class of multi-pathogen resistance genes, known as Lr34 and Lr67 genes, which boosts wheat’s resistance to diverse pathogens.
Dr Lagudah has also cloned several important plant immune receptor genes and has made significant contributions to rust resistance.