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Dr Luigi De Filippis


Research Grants

  • UTS Internal Research Grants Scheme (IRG)
  • Nursery Industry Association (NSW)(NIAN) - Research Grant
  • Australian Research Grants (ARC) Scheme - Small
  • Australian Institute of Horticulture - Research Grant
Image of Luigi De Filippis
Associate of the Faculty, School of Life Sciences
BSc (Hons) (La Trobe), PhD (La Trobe)
+61 2 9514 4152

Research Interests

  • Molecular Fingerprinting of Plants
  • Gene and Chromosome Mapping
  • Salinity and Forest Trees
  • Heavy Metal Toxicity
  • Growth Media and Soils

  • Plant Physiology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Plant Breeding
  • Plant Production


Rahman, M.A., Reichman, S.M., De Filippis, L., Sany, S.B.T. & Hasegawa, H. 2015, 'Phytoremediation of toxic metals in soils and wetlands: Concepts and applications' in Environmental Remediation Technologies for Metal-Contaminated Soils, pp. 161-195.
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© Springer Japan 2016. All rights are reserved. Over centuries, industrial, mining and military activities, agriculture, farming, and waste practices have contaminated soils and wetlands in many countries with high concentrations of toxic metals. In addition to their negative effects on ecosystems and other natural resources, toxic metals pose a great danger to human health. Unlike organic compounds, metals cannot be degraded, and clean-up usually requires their removal. Most of the conventional remedial methods have lost economic favor and public acceptance because they are expensive and cause degradation of soil fertility that subsequently results in adverse impacts on the ecosystem. Conventional methods of environmental remediation do not solve the problem; rather they merely transfer it to future generation. Obviously, there is an urgent need for alternative, cheap, and efficient methods to clean-up sites contaminated with toxic metals. Phytoremediation, a plant-based green technology, is cost effective, environmental friendly, aesthetically pleasing approach for the remediation of toxic metals. Due to its elegance and the extent of contaminated areas, phytoremediation approaches have already received significant scientific and commercial attention. Two approaches have been proposed for the phytoremediation of toxic metals from soils and wetlands: natural and induced phytoremediation. Natural phytoremediation refers to the use of hyper-accumulating plants and associated soil microbes, while the induced phytoremediation refers to the use chemicals, especially synthetic chelating ligands, for the increase of metal bioavailability and uptake in plants. Recently, genetically modified plants (GMPs) have been proposed to use in phytoremediation technology; however, this approach is being hindered by ideology-driven restrictive legislation over the use of GMPs. We will discuss the concepts and practical applications of phytoremediation technologies for the restorati...
De Filippis, L.F. 2012, 'Breeding for biotic stress tolerance in plants' in Ashraf, M., rk, M.N.O.Z., Ahmad, M.S.A. & Aksoy, A. (eds), Crop Production for Agricultural Improvement, Taylor Francis, Pakistan, pp. 145-200.
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Modern agriculture is concerned with the production of crops used primarily for human and animal food, but in so doing there is often the need (in some cases by law) to protect the environment. In crop production there is also the need to lower production costs, and especially reduce the use of expensive pesticides and fertilizers. It is often an important aim, which is not always ful fi lled to apply fertilizers and pesticides only when needed, but in order for this strategy to succeed, a better understanding of biotic stress and associated in fl uences from plant breeding achievements is required. Therefore the impact of biotic stress and injury to plants and plant yield is not only of economic importance to agriculture but is directly related to other biological and environmental questions. For example, biological and economic decision made over the control of biotic stress forms an important part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In this chapter, we deal with the latest results and conclusions of yield losses in plant pathology, entomology and weed science, and successful application of breeding approaches to limiting such yield reductions.
De Filippis, L.F. 2010, 'Biochemical and molecular aspects in phytoremediation of selenium' in Ashraf, M., Ozturk, M.A. & Ahmad, M.S.A. (eds), Plant Adaptation and Phytoremediation, Springer, Berlin, pp. 193-226.
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The element selenium (Se) is considered a finite and non-renewable resource on earth, and has been found to be an essential element in humans, animals, micro-organisms and some other eukaryotes; but as yet its essentiality to plants is in dispute. There is no doubt that adequate levels of selenium are important to animal and human health, and some selenium compounds have been found to be active against cancers. A limited number of plants growing on selenium rich soils can accumulate very high levels of selenium (i.e., hyperaccumulate selenium), and are classified as selenium tolerant, however, many more plants do not accumulate selenium to any great extent, and are selenium sensitive. Plants vary considerably in their physiological and biochemical response to selenium, and a revision of the physiological responses of plants to selenium is presented; especially growth, uptake, transport and interaction of selenium with other minerals.
Magel, E., Hauch, S. & De Filippis, L.F. 2002, 'Random amplification of polymorphic DNA and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction of RNA in studies of Sapwood and Heartwood' in Chaffey, N. (ed), Wood Formation in Trees, Taylor & Francis, London, UK, pp. 319-338.


De Filippis, L.F. 2009, 'Salt Tolerance, Osmolyte Synthesis, Oxidative Stress and Screening for Genetic Changes in Selected Rice Mutants using DNA Markers and DNA Sequencing', International Conference on Plant and Environmental Pollution (ICPEP), Kayseri Turkey.
De Filippis, L.F. 2008, 'Plant Biotechnology: Development, Challenges and the Role of Proteomics.', International Conference of Chinese Academy of Sciences-Plant Molecular Biology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China..
De Filippis, L.F. 2008, 'Biotechnology of Salinity Stress in Crop Plants', Annual Conference of Chinese Academy of Science - Plant Biotechnology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China..

Journal articles

Munro, U., Luu, P., DeFilippis, L. & Freire, R. 2014, 'Ontogeny of magnetoreception in chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus)', Journal of Ethology, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 69-74.
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De Filippis, L.F. & Magel, E. 2012, 'Identification Of Biochemical Differences Between The Sapwood And Transition Zone In Robinia Pseudoacacia L. By Differential Display Of Proteins', Holzforschung: international journal of the biology, chemistry, physics and technology of wood, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 543-549.
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The predominant proteins and enzymes in the sapwood and transition zones of Robinia pseudoacacia L. were identified and expressed by two methods: 2D SDS-PAGE (two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) and electrospray io
De Filippis, L.F. 2011, 'Differential display of proteins capable of identifying biochemical differences between the sapwood and transition zone of Robinia pseudoacacia L.', Journal of Wood Science, vol. 65.
Hoang, V., De Filippis, L.F. & Buckney, R.T. 2011, 'Population structure and genetic diversity of the rare and endangered Sinocalamus mucclure and Markhamia stipulata in Ba Be national Park, Vietnam.', Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 312-322.
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Plant species composition in Ba Be National Park, Vietnam identified five plants that were rare and endangered and at serious risk of disappearing from the park. However, only Sinocalamus mucclure (string bamboo) and Markhamia stipulata had sufficient numbers to warrant molecular analysis. ISSR (Inter Simple Sequence Repeats) and RAPD-PCR (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA-Polymerase Chain Reaction) were used to determine genetic differences between populations of Sinocalamus mucclure and Markhamia stipulata and whether genetic diversity was correlated to geographic distance. Disturbance in the area was evident, however, biogeography features usually associated with human disturbance was a minor contribution to species fragmentation. Analysis of similarity in biogeography and vegetation parameters demonstrated that similarity between the sites was between 65 and 85% and introduced plant species to the park was low. Trees dominated the canopy and species richness varied between the sites. Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) of molecular data showed significant differences in populations of both plants and that substantial genetic variation between individuals of both species were present. ISSR revealed slightly less genetic diversity in both species (70-71% polymorphism) than RAPD-PCR (65-71% polymorphism). In conclusion, ISSR appeared to be more discriminatory than RAPD-PCR but both were versatile, sensitive and cost effective methods for use in genetic diversity and conservation genetics.
De Filippis, L.F. 2010, 'Genetic Diversity between Stains of Layers and Broilers in Chicken (Gallus gallus)', Vogelwarte, vol. 48, pp. 403-404.
De Filippis, L.F. 2010, 'Genetic Diversity between stains of layers and broilers in chicken (Gallus gallus). r'.
Hoang, T., De, F.L.F. & Le, X.T. 2009, 'Salt tolerance and screening for genetic changes in rice mutants after gamma irradiation using RAPD and microsatellite markers', The Open Horticulture Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 62-69.
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Two Vietnamese rice mutants (M2-2 and M2-4 - second generation line 2 and line 4 respectively), induced by gamma irradiation were examined and compared to their parent (TT), and the Australian cultivar Amaroo (Am) for salt tolerance and genomic differences. Seedlings in tissue culture provided high yields and good quality DNA, especially with young shoots. Changes in DNA of the mutants in comparison to TT and Am were successfully assessed using RAPD-PCR (random amplified polymorphic DNA-polymerase chain reaction) and RAMP-PCR (random amplified microsatellite polymorphism-polymerase chain reaction) molecular marker techniques. RAMP-PCR was better than RAPD-PCR at disclosing genetic changes between closely related individuals, and only RAMP-PCR was able to detect polymorphic bands between the two mutants. A measure of heterozygocity and genetic differentiation, the Gstatistic demonstrated that comparisons between Am and TT, M2-2 or M2-4 showed moderate genetic differentiation, but comparisons between TT and M2-2 or M2-4 showed low genetic differentiation. Percentage polymorphism between TT, M2-2, M2-4 and Am detected by RAPD-PCR were similar to those detected by RAMP-PCR (about 10%). DNA bands that were polymorphic between the two mutant lines were sequenced, two bands mapped on numerous chromosomes of rice, while two other bands mapped on one or two chromosomes, and these DNA bands on the whole coded for regulatory genes. The results showed that especially RAMP-PCR is a versatile, sensitive and cost effective method for measuring genomic differences between closely related plants
Kennedy, B. & De Filippis, L.F. 2004, 'Tissue degradation and enzymatic activity observed during protoplast isolation in two ornamental Grevillea species', In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-Plant, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 119-125.
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Degradative changes in tissue during protoplast isolation were a contributing factor to low protoplast yields in the salt-sensitive Grevillea arenaria (R. Brown) and the salt-tolerant Grevillea ilicifolia (R. Brown). Protein and malondialdehyde content decreased significantly during the protoplast isolation procedure. Acid and neutral proteases were identified, and high acid protease activities were correlated to low protoplast yields. Acid phosphatase, catalase, polyphenol oxidase and lipoxygenase activities increased in both Grevillea species with cell wall digestion. High activities of catalase and low levels of polyphenol oxidase were correlated with high protoplast yields. Levels of acid phosphatase and lipoxygenase were not good indicators of final protoplast yields. The addition of the anti-oxidant, reduced glutathione, and the acid protease inhibitor, pepstatin A, significantly increased protoplast yields. Strategies were identified to minimize deleterious degradative effects during the isolation of protoplasts, including strict pH control, testing a number of cell wall digestion enzymes, and the-addition of anti-oxidative metabolites and protease inhibitors.
Charles, A.L., Markich, S.J., Stauber, J.L. & De Filippis, L.F. 2002, 'The effect of water hardness on the toxicity of urnium to a tropical freshwater alga (Chlorella sp)', Aquatic Toxicology, vol. 60, no. N/A, pp. 61-73.
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Cheng, D. & De Filippis, L.F. 2001, 'Differentially Expressed Gnes Identified During Salt Adapttion in Eucalyptus Microcorys: Down-Regulation of a cDNA Sequence Coding for a-tubulin', Journal of Plant Physiology, vol. 158, pp. 1195-1202.
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De Filippis, L.F., Hampp, R. & Ziegler, H. 2000, 'Membrane Permeability Changes and Ultrastructural Abnormalities Observed During Protoplast Fusion', Journal of Plant Physiology, vol. 156, no. 0, pp. 628-634.