Research and development

Stinginess upsets plant breeders

[18 July / Farmers Weekly] Policy makers are turning to breeder input on the revised Plant Variety Act to better protect breeders and their seed and germplasm. The problem is that the Government is expecting the experts to travel to Wellington and discuss the matters without being compensated for their travel or time. Tauranga germplasm...

Turning food waste into bioplastics

(5 July/Phys.org) A new solution at the University of Canterbury aims to turn food waste into chemical components that can be used to make bioplastics. UC’s Chemical and Process Engineering Dr. Alex Yip is working alongside Hong Kong Polytechnic University to design and develop a catalyst to achieve this. As of now the team only...

Kiwi breakthrough in lowering animal methane emissions

[1 July/The Country] An international collaboration led by New Zealand scientists has made an important discovery in the quest to help lower methane emissions from animals. Methane emissions from animals account for around a third of New Zealand’s emissions. The animal itself does not produce methane but rather a group of microbes, called methanogens, that...

Sea algae research could hold solution to devastating kiwifruit disease

[10 June/Stuff NZ] University of Waikato students Claire Voogt and Taylor Farr are investigating how the natural metabolites from algae can be used to treat pathogenic bacteria. They are particularly interested in how it could treat Psa, which cost the kiwifruit industry an estimated $1 billion in exports when it was discovered on a vine...

Breakthrough in pine tree disease research

[24 May/The Country] Researchers at Scion have made a breakthrough in studying red needle cast, a pine tree disease, which falls in the same family as kauri dieback. The researchers studied the way the disease behaved in both detached needles and the whole pine tree and found infection had two peaks, at four days and...

R&D investment must continue

[10 May/Farmers Weekly] New technologies will be needed for farmers to reduce methane reduction targets and the Government must play its part to ensure they are found, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says. Mr Mackle reports that effective solutions will require the funding of smart science, suited particularly to New Zealand farming systems. The first...

Milk miracle: New Zealand AgResearch scientists eye new baby booster

[10 February/NZ Herald] Dr Mark McCann of AgResearch refers to milk as a miracle food as he reflects on the amount of growing a human baby does in the first 1000 days of life is astounding. Mr McCann, a Senior Research Scientist, said one important part of this period was how different organs and systems...

AgResearch to sell Winchmore research farm after 72 years

[21 January/Stuff] The Winchmore Research Station in Mid Canterbury is being sold by AgResearch, after contributing to agricultural research for the past 72 years. The farm sale is by deadline private treaty, with offers to be received by end of February if not sold beforehand. AgResearch insist there will be no further land sales. The...

More than $420m in funding boost for National Science Challenges

[17 November/Radio NZ] All of the National Science Challenges have been given an injection of more than $420 million to expand and extend their research programmes. The 11 science challenges were launched in 2014 by the National Government to target issues like climate change, housing and mental health. The Minister of Research, Science, and Innovation,...

First observational study on breastmilk composition could drive scientific, technological and commercial advancements

[15 November/Dairy Reporter] A world first study conducted by Plant and Food Research in the Manawatu/ Whanganui regions has analysed dietary intakes and breastmilk nutrient composition to aid the development of supplements or programmes to support the health of breastfeeding mothers.  The programme, funded by Danone Nutricia, involved 78 women who recorded their food and...

NZ loses leading start-up to France

[19 October/National Business Review] An attractive offer from French based investors and a matching grant from the French government was too good for the founders of promising start up Green Spot Technologies to turn down and will see the company relocate to Toulouse as part of the deal.  The company founded in 2016 by University...

Why we need to talk about GM

[13 September/The Country] According to Sir Peter Gluckman, the debate over whether to use genetically edited grasses to combat greenhouse gases was more philosophical than scientific. He said New Zealand needed a national conversation about using GMOs in agriculture. He added consumers would still want to eat products from animals that had grazed on genetically...

From accident to bold plans – Kiwi biotech company takes science to market

[31 August/NZ Herald] Waikato based startup, Synthase Biotech, accidentally discovered an enzyme. The discovered enzyme, Aloxyn, could be turned into a weapon against some of the major health and wellbeing issues such as arteriosclerosis, dementia, infertility, and fatty liver disease. The company, Synthase, is aimed to develop and commercialise human drug applications, and fulfil its...

New ag investment fund launched

[21 August/Farmers Weekly] According to Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, the Government’s new primary sector investment programme would amalgamate the best of the Sustainable Farming Fund and Primary Growth Partnership. The $40 million a year fund was launched by Mr O’Connor. He said its primary funding criteria was improving product value or understanding. He also released...

Gene editing could herald new green revolution

[20 July/Euro Fruit] CRISPR breeding technologies have the potential of making fresh produce more appealing and healthier. In a new paper, researchers discuss the ability to fast breed with CRISPR gene editing to create an array of superior fruit and create the next green revolution. It does not rely on the addition of new DNA...

AgResearch field-testing GM ryegrass in United States

[13 July/Radio NZ] According to New Zealand scientists who were trialling a genetically modified grass in the United States, the plant could be a game changer for agriculture. Laboratory trials found the high metabolisable energy ryegrass grew up to 50 percent faster than conventional ryegrass. According to AgResearch, it stored more energy, was more resistant...

Time to reignite GE debate in New Zealand, says Sir Peter Gluckman

[1 July/NZ Herald] The Prime Minister’s former science advisor, Peter Gluckman, said it was time for New Zealand to restart the debate on genetic modification. The Government emphasised there were no plans to change New Zealand’s cautious approach to genetic modification, and changes would be years away. Sir Peter added the science had shown genetic...

Good step but ‘devil will be in the detail’

[20 April/Otago Daily Times] An R&D tax incentive discussion document was released yesterday by Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Megan Woods. ManufacturingNZ Executive Director, Catherine Beard, said the tax incentive proposals were a positive step towards a higher innovation economy. She added the proposal could go a long way towards increasing company level investment in...

Oxford research director calls for NZ farming sustainability

[5 March/Radio NZ] Oxford University Population Biologist, Charles Godfray, said that New Zealand agriculture needed to become more sustainable to catch up with its clean, green, unspoiled image overseas. Sir Charles added that New Zealand agriculture has a tremendous reputation as producing very high quality products, and that he thought there was a general feeling...

GM or not GM? Food watchdog reviews new products

[15 February/NZ Herald] Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) were reviewing how rules may apply to products that can be altered genetically, but without any introduced DNA. New breeding techniques (NBTs) are a set of technologies being developed and applied in plant and animal breeding. There was doubt whether the outputs of these technologies...

NZBIO Annual Biotechnology/Life Sciences Conference

 [7 September/ Media Release] The NZBIO Annual Biotechnology/Life Sciences Conference is being held on October 12 and 13 at Te Wharewaka o Poneke, Wellington. The theme this year, Global Megatrends, will consider some of the largest biotech opportunities globally today.  Some international thought leaders, Robin Farmanfarmaian, Sir Peter Gluckman, Professor Juliet Gerrard, Dr Clyde Smith...

Work begins on $206 million Lincoln University research facility

[22 August/The Press] At event was held Tuesday to mark the start of the construction of a new $206 million research facility at Lincoln University, which will be the physical home of the Lincoln Hub, a collaborative project between the University and several Crown Research Institutes. Lincoln University and AgResearch are partnering in the centre...

Government offers $7 million for primary sector research

[7 August/ Stuff] The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), scheme that has contributed more than $7.5 million to primary sector research projects in Taranaki, has $7 million available for applied research projects led by the primary sector that helps boost rural communities, the economy and environmental sustainability. MPI’s Director of Investment Programmes...