Development of Achacha Fruit with Small Seeds or No Seeds

Location: Giru, QLD (on Bruce Highway 45km south of Townsville

Duration: 3-5 months

Proposed start date:  As Soon as Possible

Keywords: Horticulture, Botany, Fruit, Seed Reduction, Plant Genetics, Crop Breeding

Please note:  This is a collaborative research project with James Cook University and is open to JCU students only.Due to funding requirements, students must have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will be ineligible for this project.

Project Background

The Achacha (achachairu, Garcinia humilis) is a fruit originally found in the tropical Amazon Basin in Bolivia; it is now grown in Australia at Giru. In Bolivia it is grown in small orchards of 100-200 trees. We have 16,000 mature trees, supplying markets in Australia and overseas. Until last year, we were the only commercial grower of the fruit in the world; now a firm in Guatemala has entered the international market.

Research to be Conducted

The Achacha is a relatively small fruit, about the size and shape of an egg, with a large seed. The research will focus towards significantly reducing seed size with the aim of elimination. Improving upon the methods to achieve application is a major area of focus. Methods will incorporate the fields of crop breeding, plant genetics and biotechnology with a strong focus on genetic modification.

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following skills:


  • Environmental science or agricultural science background
  • A strong understanding of research methods
  • An interest in crop breeding, plant genetics and biochemistry


  • Strong computer skills
  • Strong communication skills within a team environment

Expected Outcomes

The first aim of the research project is to improve upon current methods to significantly reduce the size of seeds.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

27 March 2018


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