Congratulations to Professor Rachel Burton, Associate Professor Cassandra Collins and Dr Roberta De Bei from the University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food and Wine who have been awarded Commercial Accelerator Scheme grants from Adelaide Enterprise.

The goal of the Commercial Accelerator Scheme (CAS) is to provide a cash injection for early-stage research with potential for commercial application, resulting in significant economic, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits.

Of the four grants awarded in 2018, two went to Waite projects.

Associate Professor Cassandra Collins and Dr Roberta De Bei – $45,000 for their VitiCanopy App

Grapevine canopy architecture is directly correlated to photosynthetic capacity, water requirements and fruit quality. Understanding canopy size variability allows growers to identify a zone of characteristic performance and apply targeted management.

Cassandra and Roberta will use the CAS funding to improve the current VitiCanopy App with new tools and features. With the new tool users will be able to make site specific management decisions and direct resources to where they are needed most.

“We are very excited about this new project,” Cassandra said. “We are confident we will develop a more streamlined, technology-assisted vine monitoring tool by providing users with a set of superior and new features which will significantly improve the way users monitor their grapevines”.

Professor Rachel Burton – $99,000 for Plantago development

Psyllium is currently made exclusively from the seeds of Plantago ovata grown mostly in India. Team Plantago have discovered that psyllium from a native Australian plant has superior gelling and water holding properties ideal for gluten-free food products. It is a native plant perfectly suited to hot, dry and even saline conditions found across Australia and so should grow well under cultivation.

Rachel and her team will use the CAS funds to bulk up enough seed for baking trials, sequence the genome and make crosses to get a breeding program underway. They will also be hunting for other accessions across Australia.

“We were very excited to find a native plant with such great properties and hopeful that in a few years we can make a uniquely Australian product that food manufacturers worldwide will want to use” said Rachel.

Kirsten Bernhardt (Adelaide Enterprise) with Dr Roberta De Bei and Associate Professor Cassandra Collins

Professor Rachel Burton and PhD candidate James Cowley pictured with Kirsten Bernhardt (left) and Kiara Bechta-Metti (right) from Adelaide Enterprise

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