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Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles)
ISSN: 1036-7128
Vol. 8, No. 5, 1998
Bioline Code: au98034
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles), Vol. 8, No. 5, 1998

 en Editorial, News, BIO '99, Public Perceptions, Bio Shares, ABA News, Victorian Fermentation Interest Group, Asian News, Biocomputing, Book reviews, Meetings and Products


Australasian Biotechnology,
Volume 8 Number 5, September/October 1998, pp. 258 -316

Editorial, News, BIO '99, Public Perceptions, Bio Shares, ABA News, Victorian Fermentation Interest Group, Asian News, Biocomputing, Book reviews, Meetings and Products

Code Number:AU98034
Sizes of Files:
Text: 143K
Graphics: No associated graphics files


Journal Changes

As we progress towards major changes in the way in which the ABA operates, and perhaps even changes in its aims, the journal will not be isolated from these changes.

This journal has had a policy until now which contained these key elements:

  • A mix of news and contributed papers
  • Papers to be no more than four pages (with exceptions)
  • Use of two-colour except for the outside covers (to contain costs)
  • Acceptance of up to ten pages of advertising
  • A push to increase Asian news
  • Incorporation of New Zealand news and articles on an equal footing with Australian items

We have been reluctant to burden readers with a readership questionnaire, mainly because of the very small proportion of readers who will complete such questionnaires. However, we do need to know what sections of the journal readers most appreciate and want.


Government's New Initiative on Biotechnology

Biotechnology Task Force

The Department of Industry, Science & Tourism will establish a Biotechnology Task Force to advise the Government on strategies for development of the Australian biotechnology sectors.

Leg Ulcers and Biotech Australia's PAI-2

Relief for sufferers of leg ulcers is a step nearer following encouraging early clinical trials of a new product, PAI-2, by the Sydney-based company Biotech Australia.

World Leading New Australian Drug Technology

An exciting new drug discovery technology was recently revealed as the corner-stone of an $A10 million, two-year agreement signed by AMRAD Corporation Limited and the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Cellular Growth Factors.

Amendment to the Food Standards Code

Foods Produced Using Gene Technology Standard A18

ANZFA's recommendation on a new joint standard for the regulation of foods produced using gene technology (Standard 18) was considered by State, Territory and New Zealand health ministers in their capacity as the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council (ANZFSC) on 30 July 1998. ANZFSC agreed to accept the new standard at that meeting.

Food Council Welcomes Regulation Proposals

"At last Australia will have regulations to govern genetically modified food that provide the public with confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place."

Queensland to Host World Technology Expo

Australia's largest ever technology expo and conference - Technology '99 will be held on Queensland's Gold Coast in October next year, the first of what organisers expect to become an annual event.

Australia Participates in New Belgium-Based Agbiotech Company

Research by scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) forms a key part of a new international start-up company based in Belgium which has successfully raised venture capital of US$5 million for innovative research on agricultural crops. In return for ANU's contribution, ANUTECH Pty Ltd, the commercial arm of the ANU will become a shareholder of the new company.

Victoria Appoints New Principal Science Adviser

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Mark Birrell, announced on 17 August the appointment of Professor Graham Mitchell as the State's Principal Adviser for Science, Engineering and Technology policy.

University of Queensland Careers Fair

A very successful Science and Engoineering Careers Fair was held in Mayne Hall at the University of Queensland on August 3. Over 60 employers and academic departments were in attendance, and students from the Faculties of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture, and Biological and Chemical Sciences attended to view the range of careers options available after graduation.

Japanese Study of Synsorb-Pk

Calgary - Synsorb Biotech Inc., has received a preliminary report from Takeda Chemical Industries, Ltd on the completed clinical study of Synsorb Pk® performed in Japan last year. Takeda has concluded that the product was safe when co-administered with antibiotics.

EU Biotech Funded

The European Commission has launched the European Plant Biotechnology Network, which will receive funding of ECU426,000 (US$472,860) from the EU. The aim of the EPBN is to promote networking between the laboratories working on EU-funded research projects and to facilitate the dissemination and commercialization of results during the fifth round of funding for biotech research. The EU currently funds 45 different projects in plant biotechnology, involving 394 laboratories in 20 countries, which focus on improved products for health, stress tolerance, and disease resistance. During the fourth round of research funding, which recently closed, the EC funded 154 biotechnology research projects with a total of ECU533.23 million (US$591.9 million).

Novartis Argicultural Discovery Institute

The Novartis Research Foundation is planning to invest $600 million over the next ten years to fund the creation and upkeep of the Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute (NADI). The creation of the foundation is a strategic move to optimize cross-business synergies in genomics research within the agribusiness and pharmaceuticals industries.

FDA Addresses Use of Antibiotic Resistance Marker Genes

The Food and Drug Administration has issued draft guidance entitled "Use of Antibiotic Resistance Marker Genes in Transgenic Plants: Guidance for Industry" and a report entitled "Report on Consultations Regarding Use of Antibiotic Resistance Marker Genes In Transgenic Plants." FDA is making both documents available for public comment.

The Royal Society Reports on GM Issues and Regulations

The latest development in the ongoing European debate concerning genetically modified (GM) crops is a report from a special working group of the Royal Society, a highly respected and influential scientific organization in the UK. The report entitled "Genetically Modified Plants for Food Use" is the product of a number of prominent experts in a variety of fields. It concisely reviews current regulatory controls both in the UK and in Europe, and addresses questions of gene transfer from GM crops, other specific concerns of environmental harm, and issues related to GM plants as food. Posssible future developments are also discussed with suggested revisions to the current regulatory system.

Sugar Beets Engineered to Produce Healthier Sugar

Dutch scientists have developed a new sugar beet that produces fructan, a low calorie sweetener and a healthier alternative to sucrose. Reporting in the September issue of Nature Biotechnology, researchers at the Center for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research at Wageningen describe how they developed "fructan beets" by inserting a single gene from Jerusalem artichoke that encodes an enzyme for converting sucrose to fructan. The new beet has the potential to replace more expensive fermentation methods of producing low molecular weight fructans, which are nearly as sweet as regular sugar but indigestible by humans.

Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute has today decided to award the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Robert F Furchgott, Louis J Ignarro and Ferid Murad for their discoveries concerning "nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system"

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded The 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the area of quantum chemistry to Walter Kohn, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA and John A. Pople, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA (British citizen).

Development of computational methods in chemistry awarded

Researchers have long sought methods for understanding how bonds between the atoms in molecules function. With such methods it would be possible to calculate the properties of molecules and the interplay between them. The growth of quantum mechanics in physics at the beginning of the 1900s opened new possibilities, but applications within chemistry were long in coming. It was not practically possible to handle the complicated mathematical relations of quantum mechanics for such complex systems as molecules.

Meeting Report

Biological Informatics held on 6-8 July 1998 at the Australian Academy of Science, Canberra

In the carefully phrased world of science, few predictions are so boldly stated. Yet recently Professor Sir Robert May, Chief Scientist of the UK, told the attendees at the Australian Academy of Science-sponsored Conference on Biological Informatics that "there will be winners, and there will be losers" among nations as the world moves into the next century. Sir Robert underscored statements that have been made by other international leaders. "The next century will be the `Age of Biology', just as this one has been an age of physics and astronomy. Specifically, those countries who best know how to correlate, analyze, and communicate biological information will be in the leading position to achieve economic and scientific advances."

Austrade offers Australian Biotechnology a Major International Industry Development Opportunity

The Australian Trade Commission in San Francisco assists Australian life sciences and information technology companies with US business development. The range of services provided includes market research, identification of distributors and strategic partners, company appointments, business plans, and trade show participation. Austrade also advises US companies about investment opportunities in Australia, as well as contract R&D/manufacturing and clinical trial capabilities in the biotech and medical areas.


Poisonous Potatoes cause a stir about Genetic Foods in Scotland

The internationally-renowned Rowett Research Institute has been severely embarrassed by the premature release of data on TV, which resulted in public outcry. It was only reported in brief in Australian news media.


Flu Diagnostic Distribution Agreement for Europe-United Kingdom

Biota Holdings Limited announced in early September that it has signed an agreement for the distribution of its influenza diagnostic, AB FLU OIA®, in Europe, including the United Kingdom.

Biota Releases Preliminary Final Announcement

Biota Holdings Limited recently lodged its results for the year ended 30 June 1998.


1997/98 Financial Results


Research and Development

AMRAD's core business of pharmaceutical research and development progressed in line with its value-adding strategy during 1997/98, achieving a number of important milestone.

Trading Businesses

The results achieved by AMRAD's trading businesses, AMRAD Pharmaceuticals and AMRAD Biotech, exceeded, in total, the earnings targets for 1997/98.

Bell Scientific Industries - New Business

This new business will provide a range of biotechnological services including consultancy.

Freehills Patent Attorneys Announces New Partners

John Davy, Melbourne

John Davy joins FPA Melbourne with more than 20 years' experience in protecting and managing intellectual property issues for a large and diverse Australian chemical company.

Paul Jones, Melbourne

Paul Jones is a Registered Patent Attorney with more than 25 years' experience, having practised in all areas of international patent and trade mark law.

Paul Savage, Sydney

Paul Savage joined FPA Sydney earlier this year. Over the past six years, his practice has focussed on advising clients in a wide range of technologies including mining, hydraulic, general mechanical, software development and fluid dynamics technologies.

Debra Tulloch, Melbourne

Debra Tulloch is a Registered Patent Attorney and joined FPA Melbourne in August this year.

County/NHMRC Partnership Sets Stage for World-First Medical Research Investment Fund

A ground-breaking new investment opportunity for Australian superannuation funds moved closer to fruition recently, with the announcement of a partnership between County Investment Management and the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to co-operate in the development of a pioneering new Medical Research Investment Fund.

Bio Shares

Covering Australian Biotechnology Stocks - compiled by M.J. Playne

The ABA: A New Direction

Below we present a summary of changes which are being considered for implementation by the Directors of the ABA. In the next six issues, the journal will provide all readers and members of the ABA an opportunity to respond, to comment and to present alternative directions for the ABA. This is your opportunity to have your voice on the future of the ABA. The article below provides a strong base for that forum. It's now up to you, dear reader.

Victorian Fermentation Special Interest Group

Postgraduate Young Speakers Competition 11 June 1998
Abstracts of Presentations

The winning speaker was Andrew Barber whose abstract is submitted, together with the two runners-up.

Stimulatory Effects of Acetaldehyde in Microbial Fermentations by Andrew Barber

Reactor Studies in the Decolourisation of Wastewaters by Pycnoporus cinnabarinus by Kirsten Schliephake

The Optimisation of Pullulan Production by Aureobasldium pullulans in Batch Culture by Brad Campbell


Annual General Meeting

This was held in Melbourne at the Brew House (CUB) in Abbotsford on 22nd September, 1998. We thank the CUB and their staff for providing a very pleasant venue and for their generous hospitality. The meeting was attended by 30 members.


Malaysia to host FAOBMB Congress

Malaysia will play host to the 8th FAOBMB (Federation of Asian and Oceanian Biochemists and Molecular Biologists) Congress in Kuala Lumpur from 22-26 November, 1998. An interesting and varied scientific programme on all aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology have been planned, comprising of plenary sessions, symposia and colloquia (to be selected from submitted abstracts). Poster sessions and a scientific trade exhibition will also be organized. Plenary speakers include B. Blumberg (U.S.A.), C. Pallen (IMCB, Singapore), W. Tate (Otago, New Zealand), J. Harwood (united Kingdom), D. Grierson (United Kingdom) and E. Tamiya (Japan).

Third Malaysian National Genetics Congress

The Third National Congress on Genetics will be held at the National University of Malaysia in Bangi, Selangor from November 18-19, 1998 just before the FAOBMB Congress

Malaysian biotechnology effort showing good progress

A local Malaysian biotechnology company, TropBio Research has shown good progress since its establishment in 1995.

MARDITECH offers biotechnology commercialisation

The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) has established a marketing arm called MARDITECH which is now set to boost the country's food and agriculture industry by offering 11 of its latest research findings for commercialisation.

Seventh Pacific Rim Biotechnology Congress in The Year 2000

Following on the successful completion of the Sixth Pacific Rim Biotechnology Congress (PRBC) and Bioexpo `98 in Hong Kong in June, 1998, planning is now underway for the Seventh PRBC to be held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada from November 13-18, 2000.

Liberalisation of the Equity Policy in the Manufacturing Sector

The Minister of International Trade and Industry announced changes to the current policy on equity for the manufacturing sector, applicable from 31 July 1998 to 31 December 2000. These changes are to effect flexibility in the equity holdings of investors, both local and foreign, in all areas of manufacturing, with the exception of specific activities and products* where Malaysians and Malaysian companies already have the capabilities and expertise.


Full-Text Journal Articles on the Internet

The information superhighway has done much lately to divert traffic away from the campus library. Many scientists and students visit the virtual library right on their desktops to read scientific papers in their favorite journals. Whether you are in Topeka or Tbilisi, browsing through a new scientific paper in the magazine Science is just a few mouse clicks away! Most publishers are racing to place their journals on the Internet where one can not only read complete scientific articles but also jump to cited papers in the title, connect to the nucleic acid or protein databases, and even e-mail the authors instantly. The awesome power of the Internet thus goes beyond providing simple electronic access of published text to pack more punch in journal reading.

Graphics of Environmental Releases Data Now Available

Charts and maps that summarize key information from the Environmental Releases databases have been added to the ISB website. The graphics complement ISB's web-based program for searching the complete set of field test and deregulatory petition records from USDA/APHIS. The graphics are automatically generated each time ISB receives an update from USDA/APHIS, and thus present the most current data available.

Medical Research Investment Fund

A new Internet website has been established to allow potential investors and medical researchers to participate in the development of the proposed Medical Research Investment Fund.

Website of Bacterial Names

A new website entitled "List of bacterial names with standing in nomenclature" is available.

Annotated List of Websites (continued from August issue)


Microbiological Resource Centers: MIRCENs
A Resource for Global Cooperation

In 1972, the United Nations called for the establishment of centres for the preservation and use of microbial resources. In 1984, pilot centres (called MIRCENs) were established in Brazil, Egypt, Guatemala, Kenya, Senegal and Thailand. Currently, there are 31 MIRCENs in 25 countries including a Biotechnology Mircen in Brisbane.

Scitech Technology Directory
A Comprehensive Guide to Technology and Industry Development Assistance

1998 Edition (12th Edition) by Jane Ford

This directory remains one of the highlights of the science information scene in Australia. First published in 1986, this twelfth edition retains all the good features of previous editions.


FDA Plans Biotech Meeting

The Food and Drug Administration's Office of Science is organising the 1998 FDA Science Forum on Biotechnology: Advances, Applications, and Regulatory Challenges. The Forum will bring FDA research and review scientists together with representatives of industry, academia, government agencies, consumer groups, and the public to discuss the impact of the enormous advances in biotechnology on product development and regulation. The meeting will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 8 and 9, 1998 at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.

AgBiotech Industry Conference
14-15 January, 1999
San Francisco, California, USA

Molecular Screening of Individuals at High-Risk of Developing Cancer: Medical, Ethical, Legal and Social Issues
19-21 March, 1999

European Lactose Symposium
25-26 March, 1999

Australian Plant Breeding Conference
19-23 April, 1999

California-Australia Biotech Partnering Meeting
12-14 May, 1999

BIO '99 - 16-20 May, 1999

9th European Congress on Biotechnology
11-15 July, 1999

Asia-Pacific Biochemical Engineering Conference 1999
15-18 November, 1999

Biotechnology 2000: 11th International Biotechnology Symposium and Exhibition of IUPAC
3-8 September, 2000

7th Pacific Rim Biotechnology Congress
13-18 November, 2000


domnick hunter

New Fermenter Control Offers Environmental and Economic Benefits

A new concept in fermenter control has been announced by domnick hunter which provides cost savings and environmental benefits by integrating, into the one process, functions such as separation of off-gases and control of foaming.


State-of-the-Art System Puts Clyde-Apac in Control

Clyde-Apac's upcoming release of a state-of-the-art electronic control system will further strengthen the company's reputation as Australia's leading manufacturer of laminar flow equipment.


Copyright 1998 Australian Biotechnology Association Ltd.


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