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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 562

(Question No. 1547)


Senator Colston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 26 November 1986:

What research has CSIRO conduted during the last 10 years in relation to (a) the development of artificial sweeteners and (b) the production, manufacture or any related matters associated with sugar production in Australia.


Senator Button —The Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(a) None. The recently-announced discovery by CSIRO of a cheaper way to produce aspartame than the methods now used commercially was an unplanned spin-off from a biotechnology research program on peptide synthesis.

(b) CSIRO has been involved in 14 research projects involving six different Divisions, relating to some aspect of sugar production or manufacture in Australia. The projects have covered the following topics:

Development of variants of sugar cane resistant in the laboratory to the toxin of the eyespot disease organism (Helminthosporium sacchari) using tissue culture techniques.

Assessment of the fertility of soils used to grow sugarcane.

Studies of the properties and mapping of the distribution of the soils of the wet coast of north Queensland.

Investigation of the contributions of earthworms to the maintenance and improvement of soil structure under sugar cane.

Determination of the chemical reactions underlying the problem of darkening of raw sugar and examination of ways to separate out the dark chemicals.

Development of an instrument to measure the concentration of sugar in solution during processing.

Development of a computer-based process control for scheduling batch crystallisation of raw sugar.

Examination of factors limiting sucrose crystallisation from molasses under simulated mill conditions.

Investigation of materials to reduce the rate of wear of the tips of shredder hammers.

Investigation of materials for the construction of the shells of sugar mill rollers and for the addition of the rough surface on the shells.

Development of methods for determining the degree of roughness and hence the extent of wear on sugar mill rollers.

Development of methods for measuring large gears used in sugar mills.

Consultation on the production of prototype machinery for the sugar industry.

Studies on bagasse for the production of chemicals and materials.