Managing grape and wine quality using plant growth-promoting microbes in soil biofertilisers

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Variety of wines

This project aims to benefit viticulture by delivering a new class of plant growth-promoting microbes (PGPM) as biofertilizers designed to address the challenges of climate change while maintaining grape quality.

It is intended to generate new knowledge and valuable intellectual property using PGPM to alter vineyard soil microbial community to manage abiotic and biotic stresses and to enhance the quality of important metabolites in grapes.

This project will contribute to the newly established large ARC Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers, theme 3: developing biofertilizer, led by Professor Deli Chen. The outcome will help industry to increase climate resilience for Australia’s viticulture and wine industries.

Project goals

The objectives of this project are:

  • Identify the core microbes from different viticulture systems by visiting Australian and Chinese vineyards to collect soil samples and characterise the core rhizosphere microbes from vineyards with different climate conditions and soil types.
  • Test the effectiveness of different plant growth-promoting microbes (PGPM) carriers in inoculating microbes, alteration of rhizosphere microbial diversity and their influence on grape quality through modulation of plant metabolic pathways.
  • Analyse the effects of new biofertilizer on plant root-soil-microbiome interaction and grape quality in field condition.

Supervision team

University of Melbourne: Professor Deli Chen, Associate Professor Kate Howell, Dr Pangzhen Zhan

Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Professor Jiang Lu, Professor Shiping Wang, Dr Yu Gao

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Who we are looking for

We are seeking a PhD candidate with the following skills:

  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date).
  • Demonstrated research experience in the field of viticulture, agriculture, and biology.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of the team.

Further details

This PhD project will be based at the University of Melbourne with a 12-24 month stay at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The University of Melbourne team has strong expertise in soil biochemistry, soil microbiology and grapevine metabolites research, while SHJT team is a leader in grapevine physiology, molecular biology and plant disease research. The expertise of two teams are complementary than overlapping.

The newly established large ARC Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers led by Prof Chen has dedicated theme on developing biofertilizer. The University of Melbourne and SJTU have joint viticulture field trial in collaboration with industry partner in Shandong, China.

To apply for this joint PhD opportunity, and to view the entry requirements, visit How to apply.

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