Why cell walls are important in agriculture and food


19 November 2019, Tuesday


Dr Filomena Pettolino, CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Group Leader


Have you ever stopped to think about what life on earth would look like if plant cells were not surrounded by a cell wall? I will use my talk to reflect on how important cell walls are in biology and how humans have used cell walls as a valuable resource. In doing so you may learn a little about some of the weird and wonderful paths cell walls have taken me. I will also describe some of the work we are doing in cotton to understand the relationship between fibre cell wall composition and fibre quality and how we are using this understanding to design fibres for future markets.


Filomena Pettolino is Group Leader of the Cotton Biotechnology Group that works to support a profitable and sustainable cotton industry through biotechnology linked with CSIRO varieties, production systems and processing improvements. Filomena completed a PhD in Biochemistry (Immunochemical studies of (1,4)-beta-mannans) under the supervision of the late Prof. Bruce Stone at La Trobe University, and worked as a Research Fellow with Prof. Tony Bacic in the School of Botany, University of Melbourne before joining CSIRO in late 2010. Her work focuses on plant and fungal cell walls and their component structures and applications. In cotton she uses a combination of chemical, biochemical and genomic approaches to study cell wall and fibre development in different cotton varieties and fibre quality mutants to understand this structure-function relationship. The long term aim of this work is to design the composition of the fibre to generate fibres with novel properties that will expand the uses of this important natural fibre. Much of Filomena’s work is supported by Cotton Breeding Australia, a joint venture between CSIRO and Cotton Seed Distributors.

Time and Venues

Open-access to The CSIRO Discovery Theatre @ Black Mountain


Local Time

Adelaide Waite Campus – B101-FG-R00- SmallWICWest 12:00 pm
Armidale – B55-FG-R00-Small 12:30 pm
Bribie Island – B01-FG-Small 11:30 pm
Brisbane St Lucia QBP – Room 3.323 11:30 pm
Canberra Black Mountain – Discovery Lecture Theatre 12:30 pm
Irymple (See Natalie Strickland) 12:30 pm
Myall Vale – Conference Room 12:30 pm
Perth Floreat B40-F1-R46-Rossiter Room 09:30 am
Sandy Bay (Tasmania) – B2 Forest view room 12:30 pm
Toowoomba – Media Lab 11:30 pm
Townsville (see Liz Do) 11:30 pm
Werribee (Melbourne) – B02-FG-RG53 12:30 pm