BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Sep 10 03:43:50 CEST 2008

WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre Media Release - 10/9/08


Discovery of unique protein markers in subterranean clover, which can be
high in oestrogen and cause infertility in sheep, will fast track
development of a quick molecular test for seed purity which could save sheep
producers thousands of dollars a year.

Project leader, Adjunct Associate Professor Chris Florides, Managing
Director of Saturn Biotech, said the research involved the extraction of
seed proteins, subsequent in-vitro digestion and analysis using mass

Saturn Biotech is based at the WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre
(SABC), Murdoch University -- a centre of excellence in agricultural
research that provides platform technologies, state of the art equipment and
facilities for research and development in agricultural biotechnology.

"Researchers from universities, state government and industry use these
world class facilities," Professor Florides said.

He indicated the starting point for the project was suspecting that
techniques used for testing cereal grains could be applied to clover seed of
varieties normally indistinguishable from each other.

"Using prOTOF, a high powered mass spectrometer and the only one of its kind
in Australia, we obtained unique protein profiles for eight different
sub-clover varieties.

"The test differentiates between varieties with similar morphological
features and effectively reduces testing time from two months to two days,"
he said.

The research is funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development
Corporation (RIRDC) and conducted in collaboration with the Department of
Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA). The culmination of the project will
ultimately be a high throughput molecular test used by DAFWA in its sub
clover seed certification scheme.

Professor Florides said part of his role as a member of the agricultural
research community was mentoring young scientists and providing them with a
platform to showcase their abilities.

He recently mentored 16 year old Murdoch College student Oliver Tester, who
placed third in the North American BioGENEius Challenge Competition at the
Bio2008 Convention in San Diego, USA.

The BioGENEius Challenge of WA enables top secondary science students from
years 10-12 to pursue a year-long science project, working with a leading WA

Oliver first presented his research results at the WA BioGENEius Challenge,
sponsored by the WA government through the Department of Industry and
Resources and was one of two winners who then represented WA at the Bio2008
Convention in San Diego, accompanied by their mentors.

"This is the first time in this competition that research outside North
America received such an accolade, proving that research in Western
Australia can be as innovative and successful as anywhere in the world,"
Professor Florides said.


Authorised by SABC and issued on its behalf by
Brendon Cant & Associates, Tel 08 9384 1122


Adjunct Associate Professor Chris Florides, Saturn Biotech, SABC, Tel 08
9360 2598


Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing
Suite 5
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122

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