Getting to the root of the problem

07th Jun 2022

The University of New England (UNE) is now temporarily home to a replica of one of the largest tomato glasshouse operations in the Southern Hemisphere, with Costa Group installing a small-scale version of its hydroponic production system in UNE’s on-campus glasshouse complex.
The collaboration will open the doors to a game-changing experiment for PhD candidate Phil Thomas’ research project, which could help transform the way commercial growers identify diseases and plant stress in hydroponic tomato crops.
The project is being funded by the Future Food Systems CRC and could provide large growers like Costa with a streamlined way of monitoring the health of crops.
The experiment will be conducted on campus over the next few months, and will compare the root microbiome of healthy plants with those that have been subjected to unfavourable conditions, such as too much heat, not enough water, or disease.
Phil says collaborating with professional growers gives insight into the most effective growing methods, and ensures the results will be applicable in real-world situations.
This experiment will build on the previous work Phil has done over the past two years’ of his PhD, and will get underway in the coming weeks.