Our past and current projects have included:

This project aims to discover patterns of chemical markers in soil that indicate whether or not it is polluted.

Grants and funding: EPA Victoria’s HazWaste Fund and ACLCA are jointly funding this project.

Budget: $253,484

Some soils are naturally high in metals, but not polluted and therefore not a high risk for human health or the environment. Currently, there is no means by which industry can differentiate between natural and polluted soils.

This means that natural soils on development sites are dug up and sent to landfill, at great expense to the urban development and construction industry. The initial research focuses on Victoria, but has much broader, worldwide implications. Researchers will create chemical and statistical tools that can determine whether soil is natural or polluted.

By the time the project is completed large areas of land in Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat will have chemical markers in place. This is set to save millions of dollars each year in soil assessment and remediation costs.

Co-director Dr Suzie Reichman is leading this three-year project, in partnership with the Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association (ACLCA).


  • Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association (ACLCA)

In this project, researchers will use a combination of cutting-edge molecular techniques and traditional monitoring methods to survey the Gippsland Lakes for marine pests.

Grants and funding: Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Council has provided $219,000 to fund this 18-month project.

Budget: $219,000

Marine pests can pose significant risks to endemic biodiversity and have adverse impacts on fisheries and social amenity. Very little is known about invasive marine species (pests) in the Gippsland Lakes.

Researchers will develop a detailed understanding of their ecology and formulate options for ongoing monitoring, management and control.

Dr Nathan Bott leads the project, in partnership with Dr Alastair Hirst from Deakin University, and with input from CSIRO, Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries and local stakeholders. 

This project aims to develop methods to measure methane production in the rumen and to examine its microbiology.

Grants and funding: The three-year, $840,000 project is funded by the Department of Agriculture.

Budget: $840,000

When cattle and sheep digest feed, between two and 10 per cent of the feed energy they consume is lost in the form of methane gas. This is caused by the activity of micro-organisms that naturally live in the animals’ stomach (rumen) and assist with digestion. Methane gas (CH4) is belched out by the animal and into the atmosphere. Simply put, they are 'leaking' feed energy, rather than converting it to muscle.

We are working to help reduce this loss of feed energy by developing methods to measure methane production in the rumen and to examine its microbiology.

Methane is also a potent greenhouse gas and in Australia about 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and two thirds of agricultural emissions come from methane produced by cattle and sheep. Knowledge and practices aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock therefore serve the dual purpose of improving feed efficiency, productivity and farm income, while also helping lower Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Centre Director Professor Andrew Ball leads the microbiology work while Professor Kourosh Kalantar Zadeh leads the biosensor project. 

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer