AGSA Chair's Welcome

Greetings! It is my pleasure to welcome you to the second AGSA Newsletter of 2023. I extend warm wishes for a prosperous and fulfilling time ahead and hope that you will continue to engage with AGSA's various activities.

AGSA offers a variety of activities that I am sure you will enjoy. This year, we have much to look forward to, including the 73rd Australasian Grain Science Conference, which will be held in the historic town of Rockhampton, Queensland from 26th to 29th September 2023. Additionally, we have planned an exciting lineup for the AGSA webinar series and student-based activities for the year ahead.

On behalf of AGSA, I would like to thank Dr. Roman Buckow, Chief Technology Officer at All G Foods, Waterloo, NSW, Australia, for delivering the webinar on the topic "Plant-based meats – innovations in texturization of plant proteins." The webinar was highly successful and interactive, attracting more than 150 attendees from around the globe.  The webinar is recorded  and will be available to our members soon.

Our next webinar, featuring the latest trend or innovation in grain science, will be in June 2023. Details will be presented in our next newsletter. This month's newsletter highlights:

  • AGSA 2023 conference update
    • introduction to our keynote speakers
    • abstract submission opening
    • details on accommodation bookings
    • student travel awards
  • nominations opening for FB Guthrie Grain Science Medal
I invite students to attend the upcoming conference. To make it easier for you to attend, I want to inform you about the Student Travel Awards, which are an important part of our AGSA Scholarship Program. We highly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity.

Wishing you all the best.

Yours Sincerely,

Sushil Dhital
AGSA Chair

The planning for the 73rd AGSA conference in Rockhampton is progressing smoothly,  and the conference organizing committee is pleased to inform Dr Laura Dixon (University of Leeds, UK), Professor Graeme Batten (Sydney University, Australia), Dr Regine Stockmann (CSIRO Agriculture and Food) and Emeritus Professor Mike Gidley (The University of Queensland, Australia) as other confirmed Keynote speakers.

The venue for the conference will be the north Rockhampton campus of Central Queensland University. Delegates travelling from outside of Queensland can connect their flight from Brisbane to Rockhampton. Air travel to Rockhampton from Brisbane can be booked through Qantas or Virgin airlines on a daily basis. In addition, a new airline (Bonza) also has direct flights from Melbourne to Rockhampton which will be worth checking out! We strongly advise delegates to plan ahead and book their air travel early, as prices may increase closer to the travel date.

Accommodations for the conference can be booked at the following via the following links:

Abstract and short paper submission is now open and closes on 15th May 2023.

Key dates are as follows

  • Closing date for submission of abstracts: May 15 2023
  • Early Bird registration closes: June 30 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: 20 June 2023

Please follow the instructions provided before submission.

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Packages - If you have a connection to the grains industry, or are employed by a company within that field, you may be interested in learning more about sponsorship and exhibitor packages. To do so, you can reach out to Dr Cassandra Walker for additional information.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Rockhampton in September.

Mani Naiker
2023 Conference Chair

Introduction to the Keynote Speakers

Dr Laura Dixon
University of Leeds
United Kingdom

Dr Laura Dixon is a lecturer in Crop Genetics and Physiology and UKRI Future Leader Fellow at the University of Leeds, UK. She received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh (understanding plant circadian rhythms) and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge (Natural Sciences). Her research group works to understand how cereals respond to temperature signals and use this knowledge to adapt and increase the robustness of the plants developmental response to these signals. The group's work combines fundamental discovery science at the molecular and genetic level with the translation of this into realistic in-field environments. Their work focuses on reproductive plant biology including the vegetative to floral transition, floret formation and flowering time regulation. Through understanding these processes they aim to increase the developmental robustness of cereals, in particular wheat, under the increasingly variable climate conditions to enable an improvement in yield potential stability.

Prof Graeme Batten
The University of Sydney
NSW, Australia

Professor Graeme Batten grew up on a wheat-sheep farm in southern NSW. After 6 years at a one-teacher primary school and 5 years at boarding school he studied Rural Science at the University of New England. In 1970 he joined the NSW Department of Agriculture as a research chemist at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Research Institute. His early research led to more efficient use of phosphate fertilizers in the wheat-pasture rotation farming system in southern NSW. For this work he was awarded a Master of Rural Science.

As semi-dwarf wheat varieties were released to farmers in the 1970’s Graeme turned his attention to the phosphorus-genotype interactions in wheat. Field studies were followed by detailed physiological studies of plants grown under controlled environmental conditions in the CSIRO Phytotron Canberra in 1981-1983 while a PhD candidate at the Australian National University.

In the mid-1980s Graeme resumed his research with NSW Agriculture based at Yanco. At that time rice growers urgently needed a guide to help them decide how much nitrogen fertilizer to apply to established crops. The outcome of his research, conducted in close collaboration with agronomists and the rice industry, was the rice crop tissue test for nitrogen uptake based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as the analytical technology. This test, together with improved genetics and general crop management, led to a doubling of rice yields per ML of irrigation water.

As a Program Leader in the CRC for Sustainable Rice Production Graeme developed several interests relating to his vision “The efficient production of foods and fibres to feed and clothe people in all countries with minimal impact on the environment”. For both rice and wheat, he has reported that genetic variation exists in the utilization of P. This period merged into a 5-year appointment as a Professor of Irrigation with Charles Sturt University at Wagga Wagga.

Graeme is an active member of the Australian Near Infrared Spectroscopy Group (ANISG). He became secretary of the ANISG in 1995 (a position he held until 2022). He edited the proceedings of the International NIR conference held in Lorne in 1994 and was then invited to be an editor of the Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy. From 2005 to 2017 he was the Editor-in-Chief.

In 2005 Graeme ‘officially’ retired and moved to the North and later the Central Coast of NSW. His time has been devoted to editing and research. He is an Honorary Professor with the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. His current goal is to understand the influence of phosphorus on the NIR spectra of wheat grains. This is the key to identifying P-efficient wheat genotypes worldwide.

Graeme believes in teamwork and says that his contributions to food security have been made possible with guidance from numerous Australian and international scientists and excellent technical staff.

Emeritus Professor Mike Gidley
The University of Queensland
Queensland, Australia

Prof Mike Gidley’s research is focused on structure-function relationships in biopolymer assemblies such as starch granules and plant cell walls. This has led to the detailed characterisation of starch and dietary fibre digestion/fermentation in vitro and in vivo, with the understanding, generated leading to opportunities for optimising the nutritional value of foods and feeds. He is also a Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls.

He was trained in chemistry at the Universities of London (BSc) and Cambridge (PhD), and worked on food-related research for more than twenty years in Unilever’s R+D laboratory at Colworth House in the UK, beginning as a research scientist and culminating as the Group Leader for Plant-based Foods and Ingredients, before joining UQ in 2003.

His major research interest is the linking of plant molecular structures to macroscopic properties with relevance to plant-based food properties. In particular, he is interested in investigating polysaccharide assemblies such as plant cell walls and starch granules, particularly the way these structures are assembled in nature and then disassembled during manufacturing and later during digestion. His field of research involves the use of spectroscopic, microscopic and materials analyses of natural materials and model systems. Insights into structure-property relationships are obtained, which can then be used to provide targets for raw materials and processes with enhanced food and nutritional properties

Dr Regine Stockmann
CSIRO Agriculture and Food
Melbourne, Australia

Dr Regine Stockmann is a Principal Research Scientist responsible for Product and Process Development at CSIRO Agriculture and Food. With qualifications in chemical engineering and biochemistry, she is the Team Leader of the CSIRO Food Technology Team and the Focus Area Lead for proteins.

Dr Stockmann leads fundamental and translational research addressing the innovation needs of the alternative proteins industry to enhance protein nutrition, techno-functionality and accessibility. Areas of expertise and interest include developing through-chain approaches to ensure protein composition, structure & function as defined by input and processing history dovetail with the intended end-use applications. Dr Stockmann collaborates with academia and industry and publishes in peer-reviewed papers and industry reports.

AGSA Student Travel Awards

For graduate and undergraduate students who are undertaking or have completed a research project in grain science, applications is open now for our Student Travel Awards to assist you in attending our 73rd Annual Australasian Grain Science in Rockhampton.

The Association supports students to attend and participate in the AGSA annual conference and is committed to fostering education and training in grain science via scholarships for travel to attend our annual Australasian Grain Science conference.

The award provides funds to assist students to attend the annual Australasian Grain Science Conference. To be eligible for the award, a student must present an oral or poster paper at the annual Australasian Grain Science Conference.

A minimum of five travel awards of $500 will be available to assist students to attend this years’ conference in Rockhampton. To be eligible, students must submit a title and abstract which is endorsed by their supervisor along with a brief CV.

Applications close on the 2nd of June 2023.

For more information about the Association’s awards and guidelines;

Please email your questions and applications to the Awards Committee Chair, Dr Joe Panozzo at

FB Guthrie Grain Science Medal

This is a reminder that nominations for the FB Guthrie Grain Science medal close on Friday 31 March 2023. The Guthrie medal is AGSA’s highest award honouring the contribution of pioneer cereal chemist F B Guthrie, to grain science research in Australia.

The award which will be presented at the 2023 AGSA conference in Rockhampton recognises an individual’s outstanding scientific achievement and their contribution to knowledge in the field of grain science.

Guidelines for submitting nominations including terms and conditions are located on the AGSA website. These terms will be strictly adhered to. The nominator must address all criteria listed in the guidelines.

All correspondence regarding the award is strictly via email to the Awards Chair using the awards link. A condition of the award is that the recipient attends the 73rd Annual conference in Rockhampton which will be held from the 26-29th of September 2023 where the awardee will deliver the “Guthrie Address” to the attendees. The awardee must also provide AGSA with a copy of their presentation and manuscript to the awards chair.