The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls has been launched at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide.


The new $32 million biotechnology centre will look at the fundamental role of cell walls (biomass) in plants - in particular grasses and cereal crops - and how they can be better utilised.


Barley, wheat, rice and model grasses will be the focal points of this research. The centre is hoping to discover ways of altering the macromolecules inside the cell walls to maximise their potential for reducing the risk of serious human diseases (through altering the soluble fibre levels in grain) and to benefit industry in diverse areas such as bioethanol production, malting processes for beer production, and pulp and paper manufacture.


Headquartered at the University of Adelaide, the centre involves collaboration with the universities of Melbourne and Queensland and has other major research and industry partners in Scotland, Sweden, Germany and the United States.


The centre has been established with $20.5 million in Federal cash funding from the Australian Research Council and an additional $12 million of support from partner institutions, and the South Australian Government.


The Director of the new centre is Professor Geoff Fincher,  and chief investigators include Professor of Plant Science (University of Adelaide), Professor Tony Bacic (University of Melbourne), Professor Mike Gidley (University of Queensland) and Dr Rachel Burton (University of Adelaide).


More information is here.