CDU research targets soil health to prevent disease 


Research by Charles Darwin University and the Menzies School of Health Research to find the habitat of a potentially fatal soil-borne disease has been awarded a $260,000 research and innovation grant.

The funding was announced by Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, who said the Commonwealth, through the Australian Research Council (ARC), was encouraging innovative research to make Australia a more productive, skilled and competitive nation.

The soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei causes severe disease melioidosis in humans and animals. The incidence of melioidosis is growing with indications that changing land management practices contribute to its spread.

The CDU team will analyse the environmental factors leading to the soil bacteria and contribute to effective public health measures that reduce the bacteria in the environment.

Senator Carr congratulated the CDU researchers and partners, saying the grant not only highlighted the local research talent, but also brought with it $408,000 in partner organisation contributions.

The grants address a range of challenges such as economic stability, climate change, education and health.

This funding has been provided under the ARC Linkage Projects scheme which specifically supports collaborations, encouraging innovative and user-driven research.

This research project was announced as part of the ARC’s 2011 Major Grants announcement, under which $376 million was announced for 1126 research projects. Funding will begin in 2011.