CSIRO’s toxic algae solution and gluten-free barley recognised in ATSE Awards

CSIRO scientists Dr Grant Douglas and Professor Michelle Colgrave are among the winners of the 2020 Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) Innovation and Excellence Awards, sponsored by CSIRO and announced on Thursday 30 July.

CSIRO Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley congratulated the winners on their world-class research and real-world solutions.

“CSIRO’s purpose is to solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology, so it’s great to see the brilliant solutions developed by our scientists recognised by their peers,” Dr Foley said.

“Everything we do at CSIRO is through collaboration, and we share in the success of these innovations with our partners in academia and industry who make these breakthroughs possible.”

Dr Grant Douglas won the Clunies Ross Award for Knowledge Commercialisation for developing and patenting a new phosphorus-adsorbant clay called Phoslock™, which helps control harmful algae.

Phosphorus run-off from fertiliser can cause major algal blooms that deplete water oxygen levels, and can cause fish die-offs, threaten fish farms and compromise fresh drinking water supplies.

Dr Douglas has proven that Phoslock™ effectively removes phosphorus without any lasting effects or adverse impact on the environment. Now, the product is used in more than 20 countries to control and prevent algal blooms. And Phoslock™ is the core product for a $750M ASX-listed company.

Professor Michelle Colgrave won the ICM Agrifood Award for using revolutionary technology to identify key proteins that will benefit Australia’s food and agriculture industries and improve human health.

Professor Colgrave is recognised for major breakthroughs in the analysis of gluten, which causes a dangerous auto-immune response in people with coeliac disease.

Her research has led to the development of an ultra-low gluten barley, now known as Kebari® which is used in the production of gluten-free cereals, beers and food products with all the nutritional benefits of whole grains, and are also safe to be enjoyed by coeliac sufferers.

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