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Microbial colonisation of the insoluble components of low- and high-quality fodder

The nutritional quality of fodders, a type of animal feed, varies widely. It's not clear whether the mechanism by which microorganisms in the rumen break down the fibre in low-quality, medium-quality, and high-quality fodders also varies.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Sensing and colony strength in pollination by European bee

European honey bees are an important component of crop production in Australia. There is also a significant undersupply of hives for pollination services.Identifying strong colonies is an important step in delivering effective pollination. However, auditing processes are usually invasive, requiring opening hives which may spread disease. They are also heavily dependent on 'tacit knowledge' of the auditor.This project will align with a project under the Hort Innovation Pollination Fund to determine:the characteristics of strong bee colonies that deliver effective pollinationif …

Study level
Master of Philosophy
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Women and climate change

In 2017, a Gender Action Plan was adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The plan has two main goals:To enhance the participation of women within international climate negotiationsTo respect, promote, and ensure consideration of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the implementation of the Convention and the Paris Agreement.This plan creates obligations for national governments to get women involved in making climate science and policy and to get women involved in implementing climate policy.Rowena …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Queensland University of Technology
Lead unit
Institute for Future Environments

Understanding fundamental differences in novel Yarrowia lipolytica strains and their ability to utilise lipid-rich wastewaters

Yarrowia lipolytica is a yeast that is capable of using a host of lipids as a carbon source. The yeast is used for equine and pet food supplements and holds great promise a probiotic and nutritional supplement.We have six unique Australian strains that need to be characterised and compared using various omics platforms. Additionally, growth in various lipid-rich aqueous wastewaters will be compared. Wild type strains will also be genetically altered to develop strains with improved growth and substrate utilisation …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Biocatalysis of methane into high value products

There are numerous instances where methane is released into the atmosphere, or wasted as flare gas. Methane mitigation is of global concern, being at least 20 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.Methanotrophs are a unique set of bacteria that are capable of oxidising methane. Environmentally, they are responsible for sequestering an enormous volume of methane released from biological processes, such as anaerobic digestion.From a biotechnology perspective, they have great potential for generating products, such as nutritional supplements …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Springbrook groundwater monitoring and modelling

There is limited water monitoring occurring in the Gold Coast hinterland. In partnership with the City of Gold Coast, we will be setting up water monitoring networks to improve assessment and management of groundwater resources in this region.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Production of medicinal compounds from mushroom species cultured in solid state fermentation

Australia generates thousands of tonnes of organic waste residues related to agriculture (e.g. sugar and cotton industries). These are generally unsuitable as bacterial growth substrates, but can be utilised by fungi.Fungi have developed an array of enzymes that allow them to access cellular building blocks and energy stored in recalcitrant carbon or ligno-cellulosic/hemi-cellulosic waste material.The aim of this project is to harness the fungi’s ability to access this carbon and generate fungal biomass (mycelia and fruiting bodies) that contain medicinal …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Investigating the mechanical properties of temperate, subtropical, and tropical fodder

There is strong, qualitative evidence that fodder crops produced in the tropics are 'tougher' and less nutritious than fodder crops produced in subtropical and temperate regions.However, tools that can quantify the mechanical properties of fodder crops, particularly those with direct relevance to feeding and nutrition, are lacking.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Ruminant digestion of temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical fodders

The nutritional value of fodder, a type of animal feed, varies depending on the climate in which it is produced (i.e., temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical). The reasons for these differences has not been fully explained.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of microbial adaptation to growth on biorefinery feedstocks

Biorefineries are centralised industrial facilities that transform waste and by-products from the crop and animal production sectors into products such as food, energy, and materials. As such, they are central 'pillars' of the circular bioeconomy.Some biorefinery feedstocks are challenging to transform using microorganisms because they contain 'unusual' carbohydrates or a complex mixture of inhibitory compounds.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

Biological engineering of waste into functional fungal mycelial composites and leather

Numerous residues from agriculture and the urban lifestyle comprise of carbon polymeric chains that are accessible to fungi. Fungi grow on and within these structures and can generate a bound matrix that has notably different properties.This project aims to take a waste material and repurpose it using fungal mycelial mats to penetrate and bind the organic compounds. These can be used directly as packing material or internal building materials.The project will also strive to generate aerial mycelia, which will be …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Biology and Environmental Science

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