Staff Members with ACPFG

Melino, Vanessa
PositionPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Research Interests

Dr Melino is interested in understanding how plants acquire nitrogen and assimilate that nitrogen metabolically to produce biomass. In particular she is interested in understanding why nitrogen uptake by wheat is highly inefficient. She has therefore been studying whether some wheat genotypes have a more effective root network or more effective root nitrate transporters than others. Dr Melino is further interested in understanding why symbiosis between legumes and root nodule bacteria, for the purpose of acquiring nitrogen, becomes ineffective over time. This includes looking at the morphology of legume root nodules and the genome of occupying root nodule bacteria. The ultimate aim of all of these projects is to identify plant traits that can be used to breed varieties with improved nutrition and yield.


Vanessa completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2009 where she studied the role of Vitamin C as a precursor to the organic acids that control wine acidity in the berries of grapevines. She then completed her first postdoctoral position at Murdoch University (Western Australia) on the interactions between nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria and legumes. Vanessa joined ACPFG in December 2012 as a team supervisor on the Nitrogen Use Efficiency transgenic wheat Dupont-Pioneer program. She also investigates genetic diversity for root traits and nitrate transport in wheat, and more recently, the role of small metabolites in regulating nitrogen use efficiency in drought environments.


Melino VJ, Fiene G, Enju A, Cai J, Buchner P, Heuer S (2015) Genetic Diversity for root plasticity and nitrogen uptake in wheat seedlings, Functional Plant Biology,

Cai, J, Zeng, Z, Connor, JN, Huang, CY, Melino, V, Kumar, P, Miklavcic, SJ (2015) RootGraph: a graphic optimization tool for automated image analysis of plant roots. Journal of Experimental Botany, doi:10.1093/jxb/erv359.

Melino VJ, Drew EA, Ballard RA, Reeve WG, Thomson G, White RG, O'Hara GW. 2012. Identifying abnormalities in symbiotic development between Trifolium spp. and Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii leading to sub-optimal and ineffective nodule phenotypes. Annals of Botany, 110: 1559-72.

Smith, C.A., Barthet, M., Melino, V., Smith, P., Day, D. and Soole, K. (2011) Alterations in the mitochondrial alternative NAD(P)H dehydrogenase NDB4 lead to changes in mitochondrial electron transport chain composition, plant growth and response to oxidative stress. Plant and Cell Physiology, 52 (7).

Melino, V.J., Hayes, M. A. Soole, K. L. and Ford, C.M. (2011) The role of light in the regulation of ascorbate metabolism during berry development in the cultivated grapevine Vitis vinifera L., Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91(9):1712-21.

Reeve, W. O’Hara, G., Chain, P., Ardley, J., Bräu, L., Nandesena, K. Tiwari, R. Malfatti, S.,  Kiss, H., Lapidus, A., Copeland, A. Nolan, M., Land, M., Ivanova, N.,  Mavromatis, K., Markowitz, V., Kyrpides, N., Melino, V., Denton, M., Yates, R., Howieson, J. (2010) Complete genome sequence of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv trifolii strain WSM2304, an effective microsymbiont of the South American clover Trifolium polymorphum. Standards in Genomic Sciences, 2(1): 66-76.

Reeve, W. O’Hara, G., Chain, P., Ardley, J., Bräu, L., Nandesena, K. Tiwari, R. Copeland, A. Nolan, M., Han, C., Brettin, T., Land, M., Ovchinikova, G., Ivanova, N., Mavromatis, K., Markowitz, V., Kyrpides, N., Melino, V., Denton, M., Yates, R., Howieson, J. (2010) Complete genome sequence of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain WSM1325, an effective microsymbiont of annual Mediterranean clovers. Stand. Genomic Sci., 2(3): 347-56.

Melino, V.J., Soole, K.L. and Ford, C.M. (2009) Ascorbate metabolism and the developmental demand for tartaric and oxalic acids in ripening grape berries, BMC Plant Biology, 9, 145.

Smith, C.A., Melino, V. J., Sweetman, C. and Soole, K.L. (2009) Manipulation of alternative oxidase can influence salt tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana, Physiologia Plantarum, 137: 459-472.

Melino, V.J., Soole, K.L. and Ford, C.M. (2009) A method for determination of fruit-derived ascorbic, tartaric, oxalic and malic acids and its application to the study of ascorbic acid catabolism in grapevines, Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 15 (3): 293-302.

DeBolt, S., Melino, V. and Ford, C.M. (2007) Ascorbate as a Biosynthetic Precursor in Plants, Annals of Botany, 99: 3-8.

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