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Event date: 22Jan 2019

Tuesday 22 Jan 2019

Dr Louise Thatcher, CSIRO Agriculture and Food

  • 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Auditorium, 147 Underwood Avenue, Floreat, WA

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Dr Louise Thatcher, CSIRO Agriculture and Food
Genome mining - Actinobacteria for new sources of biopesticides

Tuesday 22 January 2019
3.00pm - 4.00pm
Auditorium, 147 Underwood Avenue, Floreat WA


Actinobacteria play important roles in soil ecology and members of this phylum are known for their ability to produce bioactive compounds with applications in agricultural, pharmaceutical or industrial sectors. For example, this includes metabolites with antibiotic properties against other microbes. Genome sequencing has revealed these bacteria have far greater potential to produce bioactive compounds than was previously thought based on traditional bioactivity assays. It is predicted that these “undetected” compounds may account for up to 90% of Actinobacteria chemical potential. This vast hidden potential can be tapped for the discovery of new biopesticides which are needed for the replacement of an increasing number of chemical pesticides that are being deregistered owing to 1) toxicity, 2) increasing regulation or 3) increased incidence of resistance in pathogen, pest and weed populations.

This talk will provide an overview of research undertaken to screen a CSIRO collection of Actinobacteria for their ability to suppress root or foliar fungal phytopathogens for which no or limited host resistance has been described. Genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomics approaches coupled with bioactivity assays for new compound discovery and comparative analysis will be presented.


Dr Louise Thatcher is a Senior Research Scientist and Team Leader at CSIRO Agriculture and Food in Perth. She obtained a BSc (1st class Hons, 1999) and PhD (2007) in molecular biology and microbiology from the University of Western Australia. She completed two Postdoctoral Fellowships within CSIRO Plant Industry (Brisbane, Perth) focussing on pathogenicity mechanisms of Fusarium wilt members, host resistance and the roles of plant jasmonate signalling in defense responses against fungal pathogens. Using the model plants Arabidopsis and Medicago, Louise and her colleagues identified new sources of resistance and made step changes in our understanding of the molecular dialogue that takes place between pathogen and host. Her current crop protection research focuses on necrotrophic fungal pathogens of break crops, such as Fusarium and Sclerotinia species. She leads a small team on the development of commercial biofungicides and platforms for natural product discovery from a CSIRO collection of bacterial endophytes developed by Honorary Fellow, Dr Margaret Roper. Combined, this research works towards reducing crop losses to necrotrophic fungal pathogens by improving host disease resistance and providing new disease management options. To learn more about Dr Thatcher's research or the Perth CSIRO Plant Pathology and Crop Genomics group, visit our website

Dr Louise Thatcher, CSIRO Land and Water

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