Facilities and location
Environment & Agriculture has 10 research laboratories in Building 311 for molecular biology, plant growth, disease management and ecology, animal physiology and microbiology.
Four molecular biology laboratories are for communal use with laboratory space allocated twice yearly. Another two Molecular Biology laboratories are rated for quarantine containment level 1 (QC1) studies and have state of the art real time PCR machines and bench top DNA sequencing systems.
Equipment available include dissecting and stereo microscopes, biological and chemical safety hoods, seed germination cabinets, drying ovens, a furnace, -80°C freezers, respirometry and plethysmography systems, protein and DNA gel apparatus.
Plant growth facilities
The Department of Environment & Agriculture has plant growth facilities for teaching and research available in both Building 311 and in the large Field Trial Area 126.
Building 311 has a rooftop glasshouse which is mainly used for teaching purposes. There is also research laboratory with plant growth light benches and two Conviron controlled environment plant growth systems.
The Field Trial Area 126 is at the south end of the Bentley campus and is used for the Department’s Teaching and Research programs. It houses a six room glasshouse, four hoop houses, a poly house, a disease nursery, over 1000m2 of growing area with bird exclusion netting and a specialised Conviron facility with two Convirons and three plant growth rooms with light benches. This facility and two of the glasshouse bays are able to be certified for physical and quarantine containment levels PC2 and QC2.
Curtin Aquatic Research Laboratories (CARL)
Building 611 at Technology Park houses the Curtin Aquatic Research Laboratory and the Ecotoxicology Laboratory.
CARL has three 50 tonne recirculating aquaculture systems for seawater, freshwater and inland saline water and a 70-tonne mesocosm tank which can replicate most aquatic ecosystems through manipulation of temperature, lighting regimes and habitat structures for ecosystem and behavioural studies. The aquatic systems are controlled by a central computer system which monitors the conditions, feeding and other activities. Quarantine, live feed and algae culture rooms are available, as are numerous aquariums, tanks and equipment for housing any aquatic organism.
The Ecotoxicology Laboratory specialises in evaluation of the health status of aquatic organisms in contaminated environments. The facilities include multiple aquariums for toxicological testing, cryogenic storage, refrigerated high speed centrifuges, electrophoresis equipment, spectrofluorescence and spectrophotometry readers and scanners and microplate readers.
Horticulture Research Laboratory (HRL)
Building 611 at Technology Park also houses the Department’s HRL which investigates post-harvest treatments of fruit, vegetables and flowers to increase quality and storage life.
Facilities include three temperature controlled rooms, six temperature and humidity control cabinets, a Hunter Lab ColourFlex, UV/VIS Spectrophotometer, a Servomex Infra-Red CO2 and O2 Gas Analyser, two Agilent Gas Chromatography instruments -6890N, a Waters HPLC, a Lloyds texture analyser and a digital refractometer.
Margaret River viticulture and oenology facility
Curtin University has a specialised teaching winery, chemistry laboratory and wine sensory room situated at the Margaret River Education Campus, a shared facility with the South West Institute (TAFE), Margaret River High School and Edith Cowan University. Student vintage extends through the first semester of each year where a range of wines are produced from one tonne ferments of fruit donated by local vineyards.