The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is the federal government agency for scientific research in Australia.
It was founded in 1926 originally as the Advisory Council of Science and Industry.
Research highlights include the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy, development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote, the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus which causes rabbit haemorrhagic disease for the control of rabbit populations. CSIRO’s research into ICT technologies has resulted in advances such as the Panoptic search engine (now known as Funnelback) and Annodex.
The Latest Updated Research News:
CSIRO research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Salt baths greatly boost charge efficiency for lithium batteries – June 18, 2016
- Breakthrough fuel cell membrane inspired by cactus – April 30, 2016
- New gene-detecting technology brings new, resilient superwheat closer – April 25, 2016
- Bat super immunity to lethal disease could help protect people – February 25, 2016
- Wheat disease-resistance gene identified, potential to save billions – November 11, 2015
- Cancer patient receives 3D printed ribs in world-first surgery – September 12, 2015
- Breathing new life into malaria detection – April 23, 2015
- Robots to ResQu rainforests from purple plague – September 3, 2014
- HeatWave: mobile 3D thermal mapping in real-time – July 21, 2014
- Exploration drilling breakthrough could save up to 85 per cent of costs – May 27, 2014
- Soil contamination detector launched in the US – May 26, 2014
- CSIRO uses x-ray vision to detect unseen gold
- Soil contamination detector launched in the US
- Near error-free wireless detection made possible
- 3D mapping is a ‘Pisa’ cake for Aussie scientists
- Breakthrough in wheat disease
- Breakthrough advances nanomaterials for printable solar cells
- Plasma-treated nano filters help purify world water supply
- Saws made of carbon
- Deserts ‘greening’ from rising CO2
- Petabyte storage on a single disc or the equivalent of 10.6 years of compressed HD-TV video
- Robots to drones, Australia eyes high-tech farm help to grow food
- Carbon sponge could soak up coal emissions
- ‘Air shower’ saves 50 per cent on water
- New 2D material for next generation high-speed electronics
- Genetically engineered safflower plant improves oil output for industry
- BlueGen mini power stations for the world
- Handheld plasma flashlight rids skin of notorious pathogens
- Allergy-Free Eggs
- Salt Tolerance Breakthrough – Cross-bred wheat lifts yields
- Major Breakthrough On How Viruses Infect Plants
- Color-changing, heat-sensitive bandage indicates infection
- Australian-built mineral exploration tool wins major award
- New solar thermal tower power plant requires only sun and air
- New Oil Detection Technique
A radical new process that allows hydrogen to be efficiently sourced from liquid formic acid could be one step forward in making the dream of hydrogen-powered cars an economic reality.
Using formic acid to produce hydrogen has never been considered viable because it requires high temperatures to decompose and also produces waste by-products.
But the University of Melbourne’s Professor Richard O’Hair has led an international team of scientists in designing a molecular catalyst that forces formic acid to produce only hydrogen and carbon dioxide and at a low temperature of only 70°C.
Professor O’Hair, from the University’s School of Chemistry and Bio21 Institute, worked in collaboration with Professors Philippe Dugourd (from the University of Lyon), Philippe Maitre (University of Paris South), Bona?i?-Koutecky? (Humboldt-University Berlin) and Dr. Roger Mulder (CSIRO Manufacturing) for the study.
Inspired by the humble cactus, a new type of membrane has the potential to significantly boost the performance of fuel cells and transform the electric vehicle industry.
The membrane, developed by scientists from CSIRO and Hanyang University in Korea, was described today in the journal Nature . The paper shows that in hot conditions the membrane, which features a water repellent skin, can improve the efficiency of fuel cells by a factor of four.
According to CSIRO researcher and co-author Dr Aaron Thornton, the skin works in a similar way to a cactus plant, which thrives by retaining water in harsh and arid environments.
“Fuel cells, like the ones used in electric vehicles, generate energy by mixing together simple gases, like hydrogen and oxygen. However, in order to maintain performance, proton exchange membrane fuel cells – or PEMFCs – need to stay constantly hydrated,” Dr Thornton said.
“At the moment this is achieved by placing the cells alongside a radiator, water reservoir and a humidifier. The downside is that when used in a vehicle, these occupy a large amount of space and consume significant power,” he said.
According to CSIRO researcher and co-author Dr Cara Doherty, the team’s new cactus-inspired solution offers an alternative
Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC) and The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) have pioneered a new gene-detecting technology which, if deployed correctly could lead to the creation of a new elite variety of wheat with durable resistance to disease.
Working with fellow scientists at TSL, Dr Brande Wulff from the JIC developed the new technology called ‘MutRenSeq’ which accurately pinpoints the location of disease resistance genes in large plant genomes and which has reduced the time it takes to clone these genes in wheat from 5 to 10 years down to just two.
Effective use of these resistance genes in wheat could increase global yields and vastly reduce the need for agro-chemical applications.
A resistance gene acts like a simple lock keeping the pathogen from infecting the plant. Over time, as many breeders and growers have found, pathogens can adapt to overcome an individual resistance gene and infect the plant. A stack of multiple genes acts like a multi-lever lock, making it much harder for new pathogens to evade the crop’s defences.
Dr Brande Wulff said:
“The challenge has always been finding enough resistance genes to create an effective multi-gene ‘stack’ against virulent pathogens like wheat stem rust and wheat yellow rust which, if left unchallenged, can decimate crops across the world. With the advent of this new technology, the development of a new variety of wheat with strong resistance to one or more of these pathogens is now within reach.”
Using this technology, scientists can very quickly locate resistance genes from crops, clone them and stack multiple resistance genes into one elite variety.
MutRenSeq is a three step method for quickly isolating resistance genes based on (i) creating mutants from resistant wild type wheat plants and identifying those with loss of disease resistance, (ii) sequencing genomes of both wild type resistant plants and those which have lost resistance, and finally (iii) comparing these genes in mutants and wild types to identify the exact mutations responsible for the loss of disease resistance.
Dr Wulff collaborated with Drs Evans Lagudah and Sam Periyannan at CSIRO Agriculture in Australia, who had used a chemical (EMS) to cause mutations in the genomes of a sample of resistant wild type wheat plants. They then screened the mutant population by infecting it with the pathogen, to identify mutants that were no longer resistant.
The hypothesis was that these mutants would all share mutations in a common gene, which must be the resistance gene. They compared the sequences of the mutants to one another and looked for the overlap. Sequencing one mutant will identify several hundred mutations – each mutation indicating a candidate gene.
However, by comparing two mutants to each other, and looking for the overlap, the list is reduced from a few hundred, to just a handful.
Comparing three or more mutants, enabled the team to identify an overlap of only a single gene in the susceptible wheat plants.
Dr Wulff said:
“With MutRenSeq we can find the needle in the haystack: we can reduce the complexity of finding resistance genes by zeroing in from 124,000 genes, to just a single candidate gene.”
In the first test run of MutRenSeq, Dr Wulff’s team successfully isolated a well-known resistance gene, Sr33, in a fraction of the time it had previously taken to do this by conventional breeding techniques. Following this success, the team then cloned two important stem rust resistance genes, Sr22 and Sr45, which scientists have until now, been unable to isolate successfully.
According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) wheat is grown on more land area than any other commercial crop (approximately 240m hectares) and continues to be the most important food grain source for humans.
Farmers in the west rely on pesticides to control pathogens in wheat but fewer and fewer agrochemicals are available for use due to concerns over their environmental impact. Farmers in poorer countries have little or no access to these chemicals and are highly vulnerable to disease-related losses, which can lead to hunger and malnutrition.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 31 countries in East and North Africa, the Near East, Central and South Asia, which account for more than 37 percent of global wheat production area and 30% of global production, are at risk of wheat rust diseases including the Ug99 race of stem rust and Yr27 strain of yellow rust.
An alternative to pesticide-use is to build resistance into the crop by introducing resistant genes from other varieties of wheat into elite varieties.
Dr Wulff said:
“Finding and cloning these crucial genes has up until now been like looking for a needle in a haystack. The wheat genome is huge and contains many repeats. This new technology will transform this part of the scientific process.
“Though the next stage of stacking large numbers of genes correctly in the complex wheat genome is not easy and may take time, the advent of this new gene-detecting technology has brought the creation of one or more new elite varieties of wheat with long-awaited durable disease resistance much closer.”