Byrt Group – Engineering plant membrane proteins and solute transport to increase yield security

Molecular membrane separation: plants inspire new technologies. New Phytologist, 238(1), pp.33-54.

Our crop yields are limited by osmotic stresses, which often occur as a result of drought and salinity. There is potential for us to be able to improve crop osmotic stress tolerance by manipulating the function of aquaporins. Aquaporins are membrane intrinsic proteins, which are renowned for functioning as water channels. Our team discovered that a subset of plant aquaporins can switch between functioning as water channels and functioning as channels that are permeable to salt ions. We have identified aquaporin post-translational modifications that function like “molecular switches”, regulating the ion and water channel activity of dual ion:water aquaporins. We are working on translating these discoveries into engineering strategies to increase crop tolerance to salinity and drought, and to advance water filtration technology.

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Scientists use plants to seed solutions for recycling valuable metals and minerals

Story | Wednesday 25 January 2023
Scientists from ANU are drawing inspiration from plants to develop new techniques to separate and extract valuable minerals, metals and nutrients from resource-rich wastewater.

How to grow plants on the moon

Story | Thursday 8 December 2022
Not content with the challenging conditions for crop production here on Earth, Associate Professor Caitlin Byrt is lending her expertise to an ambitious space mission to grow plants on the moon.

ANU to support Aussie start-up in growing plants on the moon

Story | Friday 7 October 2022
ANU will lend its unique expertise in plant biology to an ambitious mission led by Australian space start-up Lunaria One that aims to grow plants on the moon by as early as 2025. 

Scientists to harvest valuable resources from wastewater

Story | Thursday 1 September 2022
A team of researchers from the ANU Research School of Biology and CSIRO has been awarded more than $1 million to develop technology that harvests valuable resources from our wastewater.
Seeing the light: Better plants, better future

Seeing the light: Better plants, better future

Story | Wednesday 3 February 2021
Increasing food production is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. The Australian Academy of Science has produced a video featuring researchers who are from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis and the ANU Research School of Biology.

Accelerating the water space-race

Story | Monday 16 September 2019
Dr Caitlin Byrt explores strategies for advancing water filtration.

Caitlin Byrt

Story | Thursday 7 March 2019
To create a future you can look forward to we need to upgrade our crop plant resources. Upgrading crops to improve productivity and adapt to environmental stresses, such as extreme climatic conditions, is key to our future food security and quality of life.

BSB PhD Exit Seminar: Characterising the regulatory effects of splice variants of transporters

Event | Thu 27 April 2023
Membrane transport proteins, also known as transporters, are crucial for the maintenance of cell physiology by facilitating the movement of ions, nutrients, metabolites, and waste across cell membranes.

PS Seminar Series- JOINT SEMINAR - Exploring a new pathway for crown root development

Event | Fri 29 April 2022
Crown roots make up the bulk of the mature root system in grasses and are essential for anchorage and water and nutrient absorption.

PS Seminar Series- JOINT SEMINAR - Moisture-regulated root branching

Event | Fri 29 April 2022
Plants that exhibit moisture-regulated root branching, called hydropatterning, are able to detect spatial differences in water distribution around their root growth zone, which leads to pre-patterning of lateral root primordia towards regions of higher water availability.