CSIRO undertakes a variety of projects with its French partners, including those relating to space science, agricultural science and food research. Our European laboratory at the Agropolis International Campus in France focuses on environmental and agricultural research.
Increasing collaboration across diverse research areas
CSIRO and and France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2019 to support increased research and development collaboration in a range of areas. This expands upon existing collaboration and includes:
- Radioastronomy and space science.
- Invasive species management and other approaches for biodiversity conservation.
- Biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease through the Laboratoire d’Informatique, de Modélisation et d’Optimisation des Systèmes (LIMOS). CSIRO is also a partner in their master's program to provide student projects and internships.
- Southern Ocean studies on impacts of carbon absorption on biology and ecosystem management with CNRS, the University of Paris, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and Laboratoire Arago.
- Collaborations on the Bio-Argo program which involves the measuring of bio-optical and bio-geochemical properties in the Indian Ocean.
- Maintaining science instrumentation and data on board the French Antarctic supply vessel L’Astrolabe.
Expanding agricultural research partnerships
In November 2015, CSIRO and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), a French public research institute dedicated to agricultural science, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the following collaboration:
- plant phenotyping
- crop and soil modelling
- adaptation of agriculture to climate change and variability.
The MoU outlines a co-funded exchange program which focuses on supporting early- and mid-career researchers. The following eight joint projects were funded in 2018 and 2019:
- Research exploring heat stress in production animals: defining observable characteristics of heat stress, impacts and recovery.
- Exploring trade-offs between food production and exosystem services at multiple scales under climate change.
- Genetic selection technologies for breeding forage and pasture crops.
- Optimising plant resistance to parasites.
- Innovation in population genomics and functional studies for improved management of parasitic functions in livestock.
- Combining experimental and modelling approaches to evaluate adaptation options for increasing resilience of low-input crop production systems to climate variability.
- Developing new insights into the mechanisms of the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, including its persistence in the environment, food products, animal reservoirs and human tissues.
- Synergies in digestibility research for meat products.
Developing sustainable food technologies
CSIRO is working with food processing company Clextral, a division of Groupe Legris Industries, on a range of technologies including powder ingredient drying and extrusion technology.
The collaboration has included the world's first pilot-industrial scale development and application of extrusion porosification technology as a future alternative to spray and freeze drying of powders in food and potentially other non-food applications.This technology has lower temperature applications and very significant advantages in sustainability and unique ingredient functionality.
Producing health-boosting high-amylose wheat
CSIRO has had a long-term research collaboration in wheat starch and protein with Groupe Limagrain, an international agricultural co-operative group specialized in field seeds, vegetable seeds and cereal products.
In 2007, this collaboration led to the formation of a joint venture company with the goal of commercialising an outcome from this collaboration, the production of a high-amylose wheat (HAW). The dietary fibre density of this grain is higher than other grains as it has 10 times more resistant starch than other grains. Resistant starch is known to improve digestive health, protect against the genetic damage that precedes bowel cancer and help combat Type 2 diabetes. When processed foods are made with high-amylose wheat, finished products taste similar to or the same as food made with standard wheat grains.
Limagrain Cereal Ingredients, the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and CSIRO are the founding shareholders of this company. The spin-off company Arista Cereal Technologies Pty Ltd has achieved proof of concept for high-amylose wheat and signed commercial licences in the USA. They are currently negotiating licenses in Australia.