A disease that affects WA lupin crops will be researched by a student from The University of Western Australia - in Japan.
Monica Kehoe, who is doing her PhD in UWA's School of Plant Biology, has won a student exchange scholarship to study at Hokkaido University in Sapporo for four weeks starting in May.
Monica hopes to find the cause of black pod syndrome (BPS) in narrow-leafed lupin. This syndrome is a severe necrotic disease of lupin pods probably caused by late infection with Bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV). BPS is one of the main factors preventing farmers from successfully growing crops of narrow-leafed lupin in south coastal regions of south-west WA. All varieties of lupin are susceptible to this and similar diseases.
Scientists regard lupin seed as a valuable human health food to help reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
In Japan, Monica will work in the laboratory of leading Japanese researcher Professor Ichiro Uyeda, an expert on plant viral pathogens such as BYMV in grain legumes. Professor Uyeda and his colleagues have undertaken extensive research using infectious clones to examine the genetic basis of the necrotic reactions to Clover yellow vein virus (CYVV) in other grain legumes. CYVV is closely related to BYMV and the genes for resistance to these and other related viruses are closely linked.
While in Japan, Monica will make a valuable contribution to her PhD project by undertaking a comparison of the effects of different Japanese strains of BYMV and CYVV on selected WA lupin cultivars known to carry a BYMV resistance gene. The new skills and applications learned during this exchange will be invaluable to Monica in her quest for solutions to the threat BPS poses to lupin production in WA, and enable her to better understand the interactions between legume resistance genes, BYMV, CYVV and other similar viruses.
Her scholarship award is provided jointly by the Australasian Plant Pathology Society, the Phytopathological Society of Japan and the Australia-Japan Foundation. Her PhD project is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and she conducts her research at the South Perth facilities of the WA Department of Agriculture and Food.
As well as Monica's collaboration with scientists in Japan, UWA is involved in a three-year ‘Lupin Challenge' project in collaboration with UWA-affiliate the WA Institute for Medical Research, CSIRO Plant Industry, the University of Sydney and science organisations in Spain to focus on the health benefits of lupin seed.
Monica Kehoe (+61 8) 9368 3499
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783