School of Plant Biology

Postgraduates

 

Christopher Jones

Thesis

The best of Santalum album: essential oil composition, biosynthesis and genetic diversity in the Australian tropical sandalwood collection

Summary

The best of Santalum album: essential oil composition, biosynthesis and genetic diversity in the Australian tropical sandalwood collection

Thesis short title The best of Santalum album: essential oil composition, biosynthesis and genetic diversity in the Australian tropical sandalwood collection

Thesis summary This thesis compiles a three-pronged approach to understanding the underlying causes of oil yield variation in S. album. As a species for which so little is known, the research presented here provides a major leap forward for tree improvement, breeding and silviculture. Hence the best of Santalum album research is presented.

Why my research is important

Australian primary producers need to diversify in order to cope with external pressures like drought, volatile markets and degraded land. Deep-rooted perennial tree crops require less maintenance, lower water tables and provide a highly valuable product with a well established market. Plantations take the pressure off natural stands of sandalwood. There exists a high level of variation in essential oil content of the Australian sandalwood collection, and efforts must be made to improve consistency. Currently there are no selection techniques appropriate for sandalwood, so smarter breeding strategies are needed. Trees take up to 10 years to yield fragrant heartwood, and are deemed mature after 50. Furthermore, the Ord River Irrigation area in far northern WA is in need of alternative crops to provide an environmentally sustainable and economically viable plantation industry.

Funding

  • ARC-Linkage project (LP 0454919). Supported by the Forest Products Commission of WA (FPC) the WA Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
  • The 2005 DAFF Science and Innovation Award for Young People, Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation.
  • 2005 Mike Carroll Travelling Fellowship.
  • 2005 Postgraduate Students Association and Convocation travelling fellowship.
  • 2004 Mary Janet Lindsay of Yanchep fellowship.