- PhD Candidate
- (+61 8) 9480 3921
- Plant Cryopreservation
- Free radical damage
- Membrane composition
- Tissue culture
2006-2009 Bachelor of science (BSc) Molecular Biotechnology. Curtin University
2010 Bachelor of Science (BSc) Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (Honours). Curtin University. Thesis title: ‘Factors affecting post-cryogenic survival of plant shoot tips’. Supervisors: Assoc Prof Ricardo Mancera, Dr Anja Kaczmarczyk, Dr Eric Bunn
Title: Free radical damage in Australian native plants during cryopreservation.
University: School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University
Supervisors: Assoc Prof Ricardo Mancera, Dr Anja Kaczmarczyk, Dr Shane Turner, Dr Eric Bunn
Cryopreservation provides the most efficient long-term storage solution for endangered or valuable plant species which cannot be preserved as seeds, as it allows for storage of the biological material without losing its viability at ultra low temperatures. The low temperatures of liquid nitrogen (LN; -135 °C in the vapour phase to -196 °C in the liquid phase) arrest all biochemical processes within the cells and allows storing of the samples for a very long period. Cryopreserved samples have been successfully stored for more than 25 years without contamination, tissue deterioration and the samples remained genetically stable. The current limitation of cryopreservation is the optimisation of standard protocols required to cryopreserve a new species. Currently there is no way of predicting if a species is cryo-capable and what survival rates can be achieved due to a lack of knowledge of how the type of species, cell physiology, pretreatments and cryoprotectant solutions interact with each other.
My project will focus on a plant that is important for post-mining rehabilitation programs, Loxocarya cinerea. L. cinerea is found in the jarrah forest’s understory and this species is important to diversity as it has an extensive root system that helps reduce erosion, it is also resistant to dieback (Phytophthora cinnamomi). This is classified as a recalcitrant plant as it produces very few viable seeds so must be micropropagated in tissue culture before being hand planted back into the restoration sites. Alcoa is looking to cryopreserve this species (and some other recalcitrant species at a later date) as a safety measure, as during tissue culture the plants are susceptible to contamination and genetic mutations leading to losses.
Free radical damage presents a major area of stress that can occur during cryopreservation, the plant tissue is very sensitive to free radical damage during the recovery process and the plants natural ability to recover from these stresses varies significantly between species. Post-cryogenic survival can be increase by using antioxidants and free radical scavangers in the media to reduce the stress on the plants. We will try to identify specific free radical molecules, antioxidants and other compounds that either cause free radical damage or aid in combating these damages in L. cinerea. This can increase our understanding of how to design cryopreservation protocols to reduce cryopreservation stresses and increase survival rates in our plants.