Funded GPLER projects

The GPLER has held three funding rounds. Find out more about the projects that were funded as part of the programme.


Round 1: 2011 funded GPLER projects

Round 1 opened in 2011 and funded projects of up to four years duration. Four projects, totalling NZD$6.62 million, were approved.

Deep sequencing the rumen microbiome (NZD$2.0 million)

Dr Graeme Attwood from AgResearch, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves researchers from Australia (CSIRO), France (INRA), Ireland (Teagasc) and the USA (Joint Genome Institute). The aim is to deep sequence the rumen microbiome in order to better understand the processes that contribute to methane formation in sheep and cattle.

Accelerated discovery of methanogen-specific inhibitors ($1.12 million)

Dr Ron Ronimus from AgResearch, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves New Zealand researchers from the University of Otago, as well as researchers from Australia (CSIRO), Japan (University of Hokkaido) and the US (University of Georgia and Ohio State University). The main goal is to develop a high-throughput screening method for rapidly identifying novel anti-methanogen inhibitors, based on the efficient testing of inhibitors against methanogens growing in 96-well culture plates.

Vaccine to reduce methane emissions in ruminants (NZD$1.0 million)

Dr Neil Wedlock of AgResearch, New Zealand, led this project. It also involved New Zealand researchers from the University of Otago and researchers from Australia (CSIRO). The team aimed to identify adjuvants (substances that trigger production of antibody responses to the vaccine) to produce a vaccine, which targets methanogens in the rumen. This project is now completed.

Animal delivery of DCD in urine by provision in feeds (NZD$1.5 million)

Dr Stewart Ledgard of AgResearch, New Zealand, led this project. It also involved New Zealand researchers from Dairy NZ as well as researchers from Australia (Department of Primary Industries Victoria, Dairy Australia, DAFF and Melbourne University) and Ireland (Teagasc). The project aims to develop a cost-effective nitrous oxide mitigation technique, based on animal delivery of the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) in urine via provision in feeds. This will be evaluated in field plot and grazing system studies across different locations in New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.

Round 2: 2012 funded GPLER projects

Round 2 opened in 2012 and funded projects of up to three years duration. Three projects, totalling NZD$2.36 million, were approved.

Reducing N2O emissions from urine patches through accelerating N2O reduction (NZD$1.08 million)

Dr Sergio Morales from the University of Otago, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves New Zealand researchers from AgResearch and Lincoln University as well as researchers from Ireland (Teagasc) and Norway (University of Life Sciences). The aim is to build on recent advances in microbial and molecular techniques to identify the regulators of denitrification, specifically those of nitrous oxide reductase (N2OR) at the microbial level.

Fast-tracking development of methanogen-specific inhibitors (NZD$1.17 million)

Dr Ron Ronimus of AgResearch, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves New Zealand researchers from the University of Otago as well as researchers from the US (University of Georgia). This project hypothesises (a) that a small-scale in vitro test can be developed that will increase throughput 10-fold; (b) that by enhancing our understanding of the chemical transformation process in the rumen, the development of small molecule inhibitors can be markedly accelerated; and (c) that novel new inhibitors can be discovered.

Disruption of rumen microbial interspecies hydrogen transfer to reduce ruminant methane emissions (NZD$100,000)

Dr Dragana Gagic of AgResearch, New Zealand, led this project. It also involved New Zealand researchers from Massey University as well as researchers from Germany (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research). This was a 1-year proof-of-concept project to investigate whether blocking the physical association between rumen methanogens and bacterial hydrogen producers has an effect on methane formation. The project also evaluated the feasibility of developing a (cost) effective and nontoxic delivery mechanism of these blockers, based on nanophage technology. The project is now complete.

Round 3: 2013 funded GPLER projects

Round 3 opened in 2013 and funded projects of up to four years duration. Three projects, totalling NZD$3.2 million, were approved.

Discovery of new nitrification inhibitors (NZD$750,000)

Professor Hong J. Di of Lincoln University, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves New Zealand researchers from AgResearch, Auckland University and Otago University as well as researchers from Environmental Medicine Australia. The aim is to develop a process to discover new nitrification inhibitors by conducting phenotype screening of potential inhibitors against dominant ammonia oxidisers. Screening will include non-target organisms (including representative heterotrophic Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria) to avoid unwanted side effects on any potential nitrification inhibitor. A desktop review of the toxicology of any identified potential nitrification inhibitors will follow.

Farming microbes for better futures (NZD$200,000)

Dr Sergio Morales of Otago University, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves New Zealand researchers from AgResearch as well as researchers from Canada (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada) and Norway (Norwegian University of Life Science). The aim is to determine the prevalence of NDNR in soils from New Zealand and internationally, as well as identifying factors limiting NDNR-controlled N2O reduction within urine patches. Microbiological and molecular genomics/transcriptomics techniques will be combined to study these novel NDNR and determine factors that influence their abundance in pastures.

Management options for increasing soil carbon under grasslands (NZD$2.25 million)

Dr Peter Millard of Landcare Research, New Zealand, leads this project. It also involves researchers from Lincoln University, Waikato University and Plant and Food Research, as well as researchers from France (French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)) and the Scotland (James Hutton Institute). The aim is to measure and model the key factors regulating soil carbon turnover in grazed pastures. The project will identify and test management options for increasing carbon storage and stability in pasture soils and use the findings to develop and validate a process-based model of carbon inputs and losses for use in verifying their longer-term implications for soil carbon storage. It will combine net ecosystem carbon exchange measurements with cutting edge stable carbon isotope techniques and modelling, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the soil carbon dynamic in intensive pasture systems.

 

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