Benalla Ensign

Lurg crop to address disease

- By Simon Ruppert

A collaborat­ion between pharmaceut­ical developer Gretals Australia and the University of Melbourne aims to address neurodegen­erative disease by replacing antibiotic­s in animal feed.

The partnershi­p has seen two eucalyptus plantation­s developed in Lurg and at the University of Melbourne's Dookie Campus.

Gretals chief executive officer Alistair Cummings said the program started by looking for natural compounds to address the issue.

‘‘We went through many different types of Australian species that contain natural compounds,’’ Mr Cummings said.

‘‘What we discovered was that a lot of the species we found had a compound that was able to migrate through the blood-vein barrier, which is the important thing as far as the brain is concerned.

‘‘However, the limiting factor was price.

‘‘So we found a species of eucalypt that has quite substantia­l amounts of this compound.’’

The University of Melbourne and Gretals have been successful in acquiring a research grant and now have more than 2000 trees in the ground in north-east Victoria.

‘‘We’re now looking to expand the trial and we need farmers to grow these for us,’’ Mr Cummings said.

‘‘We’re not looking farmer to grow 1000 ha.

‘‘We would rather 100 farmers growing 10 ha each. That way we are protected against things like fires.

‘‘If we only have the one plantation and something happens we would lose it all.’’

Mr Cummings and Gretals are hosting a field day for investors and potential stakeholde­rs on November 10 in Lurg. for one

If you would like to attend the field day please contact Gretals CEO Alistair Cumming at

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