A new project funded by the Queensland Government will focus on developing new nutritionally-rich foods from tropical pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and mung beans.
The $750,000 project is one of five new research programs worth $3 million, funded in the first round of the $15 million Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships Program.
The pulse research project will be led by Professor Sagadevan Mundree, Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities at QUT (Queensland University of Technology).
“The market for tropical pulses is huge. Queensland is already one of the largest exporters of chickpeas and mung beans in the world,” Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said.
“Professor Mundree and his team will look to how we can broaden the market for our tropical pulse industry.
“In particular, they’ll look at using pulses to develop low-allergen, gluten-free food products that are tasty and highly nutritious.
“If they can pull this off, the benefits for the industry, and the agricultural sector as a whole, will be enormous.”
The project’s industry partner is pulse exporter Blue Ribbon Roasting Trading Pty Ltd and Blue Ribbon Grains & Pulse.
Ms Enoch said the collaborative focus of Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program sets out to address one of the big issues that consistently hampers the successful commercialisation of research in Australia: getting industry and the research sector to combine forces to develop solutions to industry and society needs.
Other agricultural research related projects to receive funding include:
- A QUT project, led by Associate Professor Robert Speight has been awarded $894,704. The project will establish Australia’s first biomanufacturing platform to develop animal feed supplements. Industry partners include Ridley AgriProducts Pty Ltd, Kennedy Creek Lime Pty Ltd, and Brisbane agribiotech success story Bioproton Pty Ltd;
- A CSIRO project, led by Dr Laercio Porto-Neto, has been approved for funding of $750,000 to develop genomic selection methodologies to allow cost effective and sustainable improvements of feed efficiency for the first time in the Northern Australian beef cattle. Genomic selection is used to genotype a “reference” population of animals which are measured for a wide range of economically important traits. This research project could provide significant savings to the beef industry through reducing feedlot costs. Industry partners include the Australian Agricultural Company and the North Australian Pastoral Company;
- Another CSIRO project, this time led by Dr Melony Sellars, has been approved for funding of $650,000. The project will look at improving the annual productivity of the Queensland Black Tiger prawn industry. The project’s industry partners are Australian Prawn Farms Pty Ltd, Pacific Reef Fisheries and Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture; and
- A University of Queensland project led by Professor Murray Mitchell has received $250,000 to identify biomarkers that will allow the identification of tick resistant cattle. Ticks are a big problem to the cattle industry, with the hides of severely infested animals unsaleable. Cattle do build a degree of resistance to ticks over time, but some animals are better at this than others. Resistance to ticks appears to be intergenerational, but how resistance is achieved is not well known. This research project sets out to increase our knowledge, with major implications for the beef industry.The project’s industry partner is the Nindooinbah Pastoral Company.