Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is one of the most important palm crops and is universally known for its nutritive and medicinal properties. Containing high values in energy, proteins, lipids and valuable minerals, coconut-derived commodities such as beverages, fresh kernels and extracted milk have been intensively used locally and in many countries of the temperate zone.

Coconut-refined extracts, including coconut virgin oil and kernel fibre fractions, exhibit considerable antioxidant activities, substantial antimicrobial properties, and potential anticancer actions. Although coconut is currently cultivated in more than 90 countries with a total land use of 11.8 million hectares, 80 per cent of this production is in developing countries. Unfortunately, declining productivity caused by serious disease, insect problems and ageing palms is now a huge concern for coconut farmers and processors in these areas. Due to a lengthy and challenging process of producing inbred lines, conventional breeding approaches can't quickly address new production problems.

Clonal- or micropropagation techniques based on tissue and cell suspension culture approaches (plant regeneration via organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis) have been applied to a wide range of species, but difficulties in coconut micropropagation still prevent the use of in vitro culture for coconut propagation. This project aims to examine embryogenic conversion potential of different callus-derived cell lines to plants.

Location: Gatton and St Lucia

Expected outcomes: skills in managing a research project, data analyses and scientific writing. Primarily, an understanding of the embryogenic conversion potential of different callus-derived cell lines to plants

Supervisors: Professor Steve Adkins

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project members

Professor Steve Adkins

Principal Research Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences