The influence of genetics and environment on grain quality


The research will include performing proteomic analyses and quality analyses, and compiling, interpreting and making oral and written presentations of the data.  Conducting quality analyses may provide the student with opportunities to gain industry exposure.  The student will acquire knowledge and experience in: protein, starch, lipid, enzymic and imaging techniques; chemical, biochemical and functional analyses of grains; proteomics and bioinformatics; and molecular aspects of cereal grain science – these skills are in high demand in the cereals industry.


Professor Les Copeland

Research Location

Agriculture and Environment - Australian Technology Park

Program Type



Achieving food security will involve increasing crop productivity and also ensuring fitness-for-purpose (quality) of produce.  Quality of grain is defined by its suitability for processing or nutrition, and is determined by the physicochemical characteristics of the major constituents, especially carbohydrates, proteins, lipids.  Quality is measured using a combination of tests that seek to relate the composition and characteristics of grains to their functionality.  This involves comparing results of physical, chemical and biochemical analyses with functional tests relevant to the specific end use.  Quality is influenced by multiple interacting factors including the genetic variability that occurs between and within species, environment for crop growth, crop management, and processing technology.  While there is an extensive literature on genetic influences on grain quality, we still lack an understanding of how quality is influenced by the interplay between genetics and environment.

In this project, grain samples will be obtained from field trials in which multiple varieties of cereal plants (wheat, corn) are grown in different environments.  These samples will be studied using a combination of methods, including proteomics, chemical and biochemical analyses, and functional tests relevant to processing and nutrition, to assess the effect of growth environment and its interaction with genetics on grain quality.

Additional Information

The project will provide an excellent topic for research and research training for a PhD student.  Students who hold an APA or other scholarship are welcome to apply.

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cereal chemistry, grain quality, Proteomics, food chemistry, Proteins, starch, lipids

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 635