Agriculture and Food

Application Domain Leader: Thomas Vanhercke

Australian Agriculture and Food industries face the challenge of ensuring a sufficient supply of high-quality food and agricultural products for a growing population under rapidly changing climate conditions. Synthetic Biology offers the potential to re-imagine the future of agriculture by accelerating the design of next generation yeast and crop production platforms that are tailored to meet specific needs.

The Agriculture & Food Application domain unites projects that rely on plants and yeast to deliver high value food ingredients and fibres components that exhibit novel functionalities such as colour and elasticity. Furthermore, the FSP is investing in the development of high throughput screening technologies that shorten timelines and costs needed to re-engineer yeast and plants as chassis organisms to produce new chemicals. Finally, the application domain is supporting the development of novel underpinning technologies that aim to improve the control of transgene expression through controlled regulation of transcriptional and translational processes, the use of biosensors and the implementation of synthetic logic gate circuitry.

Current projects 

  1. High value products
  • Novel synthetic plant fibres
  1. Accelerated metabolic engineering
  • Reprogramming plants for improved and sustainable agriculture: An OpenPlant platform
  1. Foundational platform technologies
  • Development of novel transcriptional regulators and synthetic logic gates for sophisticated control of plant activity and production
  • A platform for finely tuned and predictable transient protein expression to facilitate metabolic engineering in plants
  • Untapped potential: Developing Synthetic BioCapacitors to regulate mRNA stability and protein translation
  • Optimizing ROS/redox-sensitive, reversible bioswitches as tools for transient on-demand monitoring and control of biosystems