Australian wine science has received an $11.1 million funding boost to ramp up metabolomics research in Adelaide

Bioplatforms Australia, which manages investment funding through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, together with the South Australian government and The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) will collectively invest $11.1m for metabolomics and associated activities at the AWRI until June 2023.

The funding will allow the South Australian node of Metabolomics Australia – housed at AWRI in Adelaide – to renew equipment and purchase a hi-tech nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instrument.

The AWRI’s existing metabolomics facility was established in 2008 with support from Bioplatforms Australia and the South Australian government.

The facility supports local and national researchers and industries through the development and provision of metabolomic analysis to academia and industry across all interested sectors.

Metabolomics is the comprehensive analysis of the complete set of all low molecular weight metabolites, the metabolome, that exist within a biological system such as grape juice, yeast or wine.

In the winemaking process, metabolites play a crucial role in delivering the complex flavours and aromas in wine fermented from less complex grape juice.

Since wine is the combined product of the grape and yeast metabolomes, an understanding of how the metabolites work in this process allows winemakers to more effectively produce wines to appeal to target markets.

AWRI Managing Director Dan Johnson said the funding would allow the metabolomics facility to expand its capital equipment, skilled staff and capacity to support projects.

“The investment will allow all major capital equipment in the metabolomics facility to be renewed and, excitingly, will add new capacity in the form of a NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) instrument for analysis of liquid samples,” Dr Johnson said.

“This will be the first such instrument on the Waite Campus, providing benefit to a range of co-located research organisations. The investment will also facilitate new research projects with industry and academic partners.”

The University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus is home to many nationally significant research organisations including CSIRO, Australian Grain Technologies, AWRI and the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility.

The campus, 7km southeast of the centre of Adelaide at the foot of the Adelaide Hills has the largest concentration of research expertise in the Southern Hemisphere in plant, food and agricultural sciences.

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