Fruit and veg to get a kick from new science centre

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 7th October 2010

Michael Netzel at Coopers Plains - strawberry scienceThe recently launched Health and Food Sciences Precinct at Coopers Plains opens the door to a new era of food science research that spells good news for Queensland’s fruit and vegetable lovers.

The new precinct provides a ‘Centre of Excellence’ that will take Queensland food research to new heights as both State Government and Federal Government (CSIRO) scientists join forces at the new centre.

With major collaborations on a number of projects already in place before the centralised move, the new co-location will fast track projects as it brings some of the state’s brightest science minds together in the one building.

Scientist Dr Michael Netzel, for example, is investigating plant bio-chemicals extracted from various Queensland grown fruits that have health properties.

Dr Netzel is currently working on projects relating to strawberries and the high antioxidant yielding (and soon to be sold commercially) Queen Garnet plum, before moving on to projects around sub-tropical fruits including mangos and bananas later in 2010.

The combined capability now housed at the Coopers Plains precinct is assisting Dr Netzel as he investigates the potential health benefits of the plum, a delicious fruit specifically bred by Queensland scientists at the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).

“Being located at one site is a big advantage for the project work, our collaborative work and for general interaction,” Dr Netzel said.

“We can share ideas and technology among organisations.

“This new state of the art facility is every scientist’s dream as we have fantastic facilities and also we are working side by side with some of the state’s best researchers.

“The winners from this are also the industry partners and the consumers.”

As a joint appointment with both CSIRO and the Queensland Government, Netzel’s work demonstrates the advantages of collaboration for both industry and community.

As well as inter-government collaboration, the new centre will attract a wide range of businesses to its doors to access the scientific intellect available at the site.

DEEDI Food Science Leader Dr Roger Stanley expects a wide range of researchers and technologists from national and international universities, companies and government agencies to be drawn to the new super site.

“I foresee this centre becoming the cornerstone of food research in Queensland,” Dr Stanley said.

“Through the collaboration between DEEDI and CSIRO, we have the capability to develop new and emerging technologies never before seen in this state.”