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Cranfield University is blooming marvellous

Thanks to researchers at Cranfield University, your next bouquet of flowers should stay fresher for longer.

The Geraldton waxflower - a popular filler in floral bouquets in the UK - is prone to infection and disease which causes the flowers to fall, leading to disappointed customers.

Researchers at Cranfield University's Biotechnology Centre are improving their understanding of how this native Australian flower defends itself from fungal attack, allowing them to look into extending the vase-life of the waxflower.

This research, which is an extension to current work on bio-prospecting for plant-derived chemicals with potential prophylactic uses, has been made possible by a prestigious Anglo Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), which has been awarded to the centre and is worth £25,000.

The Fellowship has been taken up by Dr Andrew MacNish who is conducting the research in collaboration with Rothamstead Research.

Dr Leon Terry, a lecturer in plant science and supervisor of the research, said: "This exciting research award from the RAEng will build upon existing expertise at Cranfield and assist in strengthening collaboration between the UK and Australia to realise research findings of real strategic value for the cut-flower industry."

The Anglo Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme is open to all UK universities and aims to encourage research collaboration between Australia and the UK.

Cranfield University. October 2003.

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