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Horsham scientists take awards

WINNING TEAM: Horsham-based pulse team, from left, Craig Searle, Bruce Holding, Kristina Noordennen, Dianne Noy, Michael Materne, Tony Leonforte, Dennis Ward, Heath Mibus, Alistair Smith and annathurai Gnanasambandam. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.

Horsham-based agricultural scientists have won recognition at Bioscience Research Division Victorian Awards in Melbourne.
A Horsham pulse-breeding team won a Norman Borlaug Impact Award and pathologist Mark McLean, who is about to complete his PhD, won an individual education award.
Field trial compliance officer Simone Tait was also part of a statewide team which won Rene Descartes – Scientific Method and Process Award.
Department of Primary Industries Horsham biosciences research leader Dr Michael Materne
said the awards highlighted the ‘excellent’ work by staff in the region.
“We are particularly honoured to take out the Norman Borlaug Award named after the American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate,” he said.
“Dr Borlaug led the introduction of high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to many countries including Mexico, Pakistan, and India.
“The yield increases achieved by this work have been labelled the Green Revolution, and he is often credited with saving more than a billion people worldwide from starvation.”
Dr Materne said the Horsham team was involved in developing new traits for breeding and developing new pulse varieties for farmers as they continued to provide food for a growing world population, particularly poorer people on the Indian subcontinent and Middle East.
“The award recognised the team’s outstanding contribution to molecular pulse breeding and highlights the importance of DPI Horsham in delivering biosciences research to farmers,” he said.
Dr Materne said breeding alone would not solve the food needs of the world and the continuing monitoring and management of disease was essential to maintain production.
He said it was great for the industry that the DPI had trained another world-class pathologist in Mark McLean from Horsham, who won the Aristotle – Education Award for research into the control of barley disease spot form of net blotch.
Mr McLean said the disease was the most common foliar disease of barley and was controlled using fungicides and resistant cultivars.
“The challenge for the future is breeding new varieties resistant to spot form of net blotch,” Mr McLean said.

Mark McLean with his education award. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Posted on Aug 10 2011

Posted by on Aug 10 2011. Filed under Agriculture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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