Approximately 170 people from across the Waite and beyond enjoyed an entertaining insight into some of our research at the second Waite in the Spotlight event on Friday 29 September.
Five presenters were drawn from across the Campus partner organisations and the wide range of research disciplines that are based here. Their talks described how they are harnessing science to provide solutions to various challenges, including our modern diets, the quest for superior wines, food provenance, pesticide resistance and genome editing.
Professor Rachel Burton (University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls) got things started by unleashing her alter ego, GutWoman, on the unsuspecting crowd. We learned what types of dietary fibre are important in our diet, and how Waite research is helping to uncover which food crops are high in these.
Richard Gawel deconstructed a bottle of wine into its components. He explained how work at the Australian Wine Research Institute is exploring just what it is that provides that highly sought after mouth-feel that separates truly good wine from bad or average wine.
Dr Nina Welti described how scientists from CSIRO Agriculture and Food here at Waite are using isotope ratios to track your food as it moves around the globe. They can use this technology to identify signals in food products that can be mapped to the location where it was grown, so consumers can be sure they get what they buy.
Entomologist Kym Perry (SARDI) told us about the staggering amount of damage the diamondback moth causes to food crops like cabbage, broccoli and canola every year. Researchers from Waite are teaming up with farmers and agronomists across the state to improve outbreak forecasting and develop control techniques that avoid compounding the insecticide resistance problem.
The last research speaker on the program was Professor Mike Keller who described how genome editing provides a powerful and safe way to breed resistance to pests into crops, and transform the way we protect crops from other impacts like drought and salinity.
Associate Professor Chris Ford from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine did a fantastic job as MC for the event. The afternoon concluded with a chance for the audience to ask all the speakers some questions. Waite in the Spotlight highlighted a small cross-section of the diverse research that happens here at the Waite, presented in an entertaining and informative way.