Agriculture Victoria has received an infrastructure boost to its metabolomics and proteomics facility at the AgriBio Centre for AgriBioscience in Bundoora, Melbourne.
The enhancements represent a $1 million investment by the Victorian Government and include new robotics for automated sample preparation and a new mass spectrometer for high-throughput analysis of samples.
Molecular Phenomics research leader Simone Rochfort said the new enhancements made it the largest metabolomics and proteomics facility dedicated to agribioscience for agriculture productivity and biosecurity outcomes in Australia.
Dr Rochfort said the technology allowed Agriculture Victoria scientists to take samples from agricultural products, such as milk, blood and plant extracts, and study the small molecules involved in biological processes, such as the sugars and amino acids, and the proteins.
‘‘For example, we use metabolomics and proteomics to identify differences in milk components in order to maintain milk quality,’’ she said.
‘‘This has led to the discovery of molecules in cow’s milk that can be concentrated and used to improve infant formulas.’’
Dr Rochfort said Agriculture Victoria scientists at AgriBio used metabolomics and proteomics in complementary ways with genomics techniques.
‘‘Tests for grain quality that have been developed in the metabolomics and proteomics facility are now being used in association with genomic selection to improve the performance of grains crops.
‘‘The capabilities also allow for the rapid identification of potential new or emerging invasive pest and disease threats, so they can be conclusively identified and eradicated or contained.’’