Postgraduate students develop links with prominent research institute


Date: 22/05/2002

A united nations of students and research staff from the University of Western Sydney recently visited one of Australia's most prominent research facilities at Camden, the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI).

EMAI staff hosted students from Iran, Jordan, Thailand, Germany, the UK and Australia as a way of training the next generation of crop protection practitioners and building networks for future research and collaboration.

Students met with scientists using alternatives to pesticides for controlling pests, pathogens and weeds, technologies that enable Australia to maintain its reputation for clean and green production.

Dr Paul Holford, postgraduate course coordinator for the Centre for Horticulture and Plant Sciences, believes the visit has created several more opportunities for future collaboration with EMAI.

"The visit enabled EMAI staff to discuss mutually beneficial research projects where students can assist the researchers whilst also gaining research experience towards their degree," Dr Holford said.

"Students from the Master of Horticulture coursework degree were introduced to many research projects underway at EMAI so that they are aware of the latest developments in crop protection, many before they are published.

"Our students had the chance to see what biological control methods are being used at EMAI and how they can be applied around the world."

The tour included visiting Australia's only quarantine citrus germplasm collection, an 'insurance policy for citrus' that maintains disease-free trees for the industry allowing replanting should disease epidemics occur.

The students also met entomologists at the fruit fly facility, which produces over 80 million sterile fruit flies per day to control outbreaks of this noxious pest.

It is hoped that future research projects with EMAI will involve improving methods for preventing plant diseases and studying how insects develop resistance to insecticides.

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Media contact: Suzie Vlaming, 9678 7429 or 0414 308 701, email s.vlaming@uws.edu.au

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