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Integrating Resource Management

DNA based research


Bioscience continues to develop Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis as a fundamental tool to examine and quantify microbial diversity.

For each DNA sample we use up to 10 separate PCR reactions, each with primers which are specific to relevant soil microbial groups. By using different fluorescent tags on primers, fragment separation using an ABI 3730 platform can be multiplexed, keeping the assay costs down.

Bioinformatics tools refined in-house then process fragment data by automated binning, normalisation and peak scoring. QA/QC involves running standard soil samples in parallel with each assay. Results are reliable, reproducible and informative.


  • Rhizosphere biodiversity, examining which microbial associations with plant roots promote better plant growth and development.
  • Soil Benchmarking, tracking how soil biology changes with different products, amendments and management strategies.
  • Wastewater management, characterising the diverse microflora in activated sludge, particularly how it changes with input loads and operational changes.
  • Nuisance insect control (with DAFWA and UWA), characterising the bacteria which fly larvae feed on when growing on vegetable crop residue, and thereby how to manage biting flies.
  • Leaf surface microbiology, examining the role of microbial biodiversity of leaf surfaces in controlling diseases in greenhouse horticulture.
  • Comparing the microbial diversity of pristine, natural environments with that of farmed soils, thereby providing knowledge of how different farm management systems impact on soil health.

All of the soil DNA we extract is archived in freezers. This means as new information arises, we can revisit and retest, asking new questions of old samples.


DNA barcoding involves the use of one of several molecular methods to identify individuals, samples, or populations based on knowledge of a unique DNA sequence.

The simplest methods involve PCR with species-specific primers. More complex methods involve determining the DNA sequence of specific areas of their genome and comparing the data to the now massive publicly available databases.

Bioscience continues to develop a unique and simple analysis method specifically for plants with the aim of using the method to identify native flora.