Delivering solutions for agriculture and environment
Established in 2010, the TDNBC combines Deakin’s expertise in nanomaterials with the experience of India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in biotech applications in food, agriculture, environment and bioenergy.
The TDNBC’s research deals with issues of food security in increasingly changing climates, remediation of polluted environments through natural products, improving health through novel molecules and improving the quality of life for poor communities.
It aims to achieve sustainability in agricultural practices, produce safe nanodelivery systems and affordable diagnostics for agriculture and human health, mitigate environment-related problems such as toxic chemicals and wastes, and develop cleaner, greener energy.
TDNBC research is based around four themes aimed at increasing water quality, encouraging efficient farming practices, improving waste management and designing innovative, agriculture-dependent, cost-effective ways to treat human disease.
TDNBC researchers work with industry and Government to identify national and international problems that could be solved by innovation in nanobiotechnology. Flagship research activities then take shape where PhD students and faculties from the TDNBC and Deakin work together towards developing products, processes and technologies with Government and industrial support.
Some examples of flagship activities are:
- Agriculture nanotechnology – future biopharmaceutical formulations, pathogen and plant disease diagnostics, biological seed coating, biotic stress and post-harvest management
- Bioremediation – waste recycling, metal pollutant management, organic pollutant management
- Bioenergy – bioactives, biorefinery, biofuels
A crucial focus of the Centre is its emphasis on clean, non-toxic and environmentally friendly nanoparticle synthesis.
TDNBC research is resulting in technology that includes future water purification devices for rural communities without access to electricity; conversion of waste into useful biologically synthesised agrochemicals; and the treatment of seeds with biologicals and nano fertilisers and pesticides to reduce chemical footprint. Natural nano-colours for the food and animal feed industries are some of the early developments.
DR ALOK ADHOLEYA
Dr Alok Adholeya (TERI), Honorary Director
Dr Adholeya's research focuses on finding and developing ways to harness the power of microbes, particularly mycorrhizae, to increase the productivity of crop plants and to restore degraded and industrial overburden lands.
Dr Adholeya has chaired numerous advisory committees on agriculture and bioremediation and is an invited speaker at many international forums. Currently, he chairs a major Task Force on Biological Agents in the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, as well as being a member of the Nanobiotechnology Taskforce in DBT.
Dr Adholeya is a PhD from the Department of Microbiology, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar and Jiwaji University, Gwalior, India and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the United States Department of Agriculture, Philadelphia, USA. He also worked as Director, Product and Technology Development, in Mycorrhizal Applications, Oregon, USA, between 2014 and 2017. He has been an Honorary Professor of Deakin University, Australia since March 2010.
Professor David Cahill (Deakin), Scientific Director
Professor Cahill is Associate Dean (Research) in Deakin’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment and holds a Personal Chair in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. His research focuses on the impacts of biotic and abiotic stress on plants and the use of bio- and nanotechnology to solve problems in agriculture.
Professor Cahill earned his PhD at The University of Melbourne and joined Deakin in 1995. He is a member of several Australian and American Societies of Plant Scientists and Associate Editor of the CSIRO journal Functional Plant Biology. Since 2007, he has been a CI on three ARC Discovery and two Linkage grants and has secured significant State and Federal funding.
He has held a number of senior roles at Deakin including Associate Head of School (Research), Chair of the Faculty Academic Progress Committee, Chair of the Faculty Professoriate and Chair of the University Laboratory and Biosafety Committee.