Prof. Christopher Grof
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 5858|
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
The University of Newcastle, Australia
- PhD, James Cook University, 1989
- C4 photosynthesis
- Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy
- carbon partitioning
- plant sugar transporters
The research area that I have operated within since the beginning of my postgraduate studies is broadly encompassed by C4 photosynthesis and carbon partitioning.
Between 1993 and 2007, a major focus of my research has been the development of a fundamental understanding of carbon metabolism/ photoassimilate partitioning and more specifically sucrose transport processes at the more detailed cellular level in the key food and biofuel crop sugarcane. By the application of a directed EST sequencing approach undertaken on the major sucrose storage organ in sugarcane, the stem, a number of ESTs encoding novel transporters were identified and full length cDNA sequences isolated. Three putative hexose transporters have been immunolocalised to the phloem of maturing internodes of the stem and an increase in expression of these transporters coincided with the logarithmic increase in sucrose concentration. The single sucrose transporter identified to date exhibited a novel localisation pattern being present in the cell layer surrounding the vascular bundles and showed a strong spike in expression at the initiation of the logarithmic phase of sucrose accumulation. The development of a high level of expertise in functional characterisation of sugar transporters has been realised through substantial collaboration travel awards from Federal Department of Industry Science and Technology and the Australian Academy of Science. Visits to work in the laboratories of premier transport researchers Professor Wolf Frommer, (University of Tuebingen, Germany and Carnegie Institute, Stanford University, USA) and Dr John Ward, (University of Minnesota) has resulted in functional characterisation of the sugarcane sucrose transporter in heterologous systems including yeast and Xenopus laevis oocytes. In addition to researching sucrose transport, I also have considerable expertise in improving transformation and transgene expression in recalcitrant plant species, skills essential for implementing genetic manipulations in order to dissect the role of candidate genes.
In 2008 I began developing a new research platform using Sorghum as a model biofuels feedstock. In addition to investigating sucrose transport mechanisms I have extended the scope of photoassimilate partitioning to include cell wall construction/deconstruction and composition. My group is currently undertaking leading edge research in the development of FTIR and FPA-FTIR as tools for detailed investigation of cereal grass cell wall composition and the development of predictive models of digestibility using spectral analysis. The application of ionic liquids as a novel and efficient means of biomass pre-treatment for the production of second generation biofuels is also currently being investigated.
Fields of Research
|060799||Plant Biology Not Elsewhere Classified||75|
|060299||Ecology Not Elsewhere Classified||20|
|030199||Analytical Chemistry Not Elsewhere Classified||5|
Centres and Groups
- plant biotechnology
- plant physiology