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Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

Telephone +61 8 8313 6653
Position Horticulture Australia Research Fellow
Fax +61 8 8313 0431
Building Plant Research Centre
Floor/Room 1 203
Campus Waite
Org Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

To link to this page, please use the following URL:

Teaching Interests

Plant Breeding, Horticulture.

Research Interests

Plant breeding and improvement for horticultural crops including Almonds, Eucalyptus, Banksia, and Olives.

Development, evaluation, and commercialisation of new improved almond cultivars.

Development of a genetic map for almond.

Almond flavour analysis.

Biochemistry of plant oils and waxes.

Reproductive biology including pollination, fruit set and development of ornamental and fruit and nut crops.

Identification of horticultural crops by DNA fingerprinting.


Media: Almond breeding program on ABC Landline:

Almond Research programs:

  • Australian almond breeding program
  • Almond flavour analysis
  • Mapping of the almond genome
  • Almond transformation for self-compatibility
  • Identification of S-alleles in almond
  • Molecular probes for Prunus Necrotic Ringspot Virus, and Prune Dwarf Virus

Honours Projects

Almond Honours/Masters/PhD Projects

1. Nutritional value of almonds Almond kernels (nuts) sold commercially are a nutritious food with high levels of protein, Vitamin E, potassium and calcium. The fatty acid profile of almonds is made up of approximately 63% monounsaturated fats and 24% polyunsaturated fats but this can vary between cultivars and environments. This project will evaluate and compare Australian with European and American almond cultivars and between progeny derived from the Australian Almond breeding program, using GC-MS, Chemical nose and chemometric analysis.


2. Sequencing new S-alleles in almond. The almond has a self-incompatibility system that prevents self-pollination, and causes cross- incompatibility between genotypes sharing common (S) alleles. Pollen donor cultivars are currently planted at a 1:1 ratio with the main cultivar to achieve effective levels of pollination for commercial production. Many of the Australian cultivars have unknown S-alleles, which makes orchard design difficult. This project will discover and sequence unknown S-alleles in Australian cultivars and selections from the Australian almond breeding program, using molecular and field techniques. 


3. Microsatellite screening of almond progeny. Microsatellites or (Simple sequence repeats) SSRs are commonly used for fingerprinting analysis of plants. DNA fingerprinting is often used for plant patents as a means of identification and verification of material. The Australian almond breeding program produces elite selections for the Australian industry, and these selections will be protected using PBR and plant patents. This project will screen SSR markers for potential use in fingerprinting of superior selections and form a database for future use. 



Zhu, Y., Taylor, C., Sommer, K., Wilkinson, K., and Wirthensohn, M. (2015). Influence of Deficit Irrigation Strategies on Fatty Acid and Tocopherol Concentration of Almond (Prunus dulcis). Food Chemistry 173, 821-826.

Zhu, Y., Wilkinson, K., and Wirthensohn, M. (2015). Lipophilic antioxidant content of almonds (Prunus dulcis): A regional and varietal study. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 39, 120-127.

Rahimi-Eichi, V., Tyerman, S. and Wirthensohn, M. (2014). Water Relations and Mesophyll Anatomy in Almond Leaves. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 139, 627-633.

Zhu, Y., Taylor, C., Sommer, K., Wilkinson, K. and Wirthensohn, M. (2014). Effect of deficit irrigation on almond kernel constituents. Acta Horticulturae 1028, 221-223.

Delaporte, K., Wirthensohn, M. and Collins, C. (2014). Ornamental eucalyptus – Something for everyone. Acta Horticulturae 1055, 91-94.

Fernández i Martí, A., Font i Forcada, C., Kamali, K., Rubio-Cabetas, M.J., Wirthensohn, M., and Socias i Company, R. (2014). Molecular analyses of evolution and population structure in a worldwide almond [P. dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb syn. Prunus amygdalus Batsch] pool assessed by microsatellite markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 62, 205-219.

Fernández i Martí, A., Wirthensohn, M., Alonso, J.M., Socias I Company, R. and Hrmova, M. (2012). Molecular modeling of S-RNases involved in almond self-incompatibility. Frontiers in Plant Science 3, 1-4.

Wirthensohn, M.G., Fernández i Martí, A. and Rahemi, M. (2011). Identification of self-incompatibility genotypes and DNA fingerprinting of some Australian almond cultivars. Acta Horticulturae 912, 561-566.

Fernández i Martí, A, Alonso, J.M., Socias i Company, R., Wirthensohn, M. and Hrmova, M. (2011). Molecular modelling of RNases from almond involved in self-incompatibility. Acta Horticulturae 912, 641-643.

Yadollahi, A., Arzani, K., Ebadi, A., Wirthensohn, M. and Karimi, S. (2011). The response of different almond genotypes to moderate and severe water stress in order to screen for drought tolerance. Scientia Horticulturae 129, 403-413.


Wirthensohn, M.G., Fernández i Martí, A. and Rahemi, M. (2011). Identification of self-incompatibility genotypes and DNA fingerprinting of some Australian almond cultivars. Acta Horticulturae 912, 561-566.

Arzani, K., Yadollahi, A., Ebadi, A. and Wirthensohn, M. (2010).Therelationshipbetweenbitternessand drought resistance of almond (Prunus dulcis Mill.).African Journal of Agricultural Research 5, 861-866.Tavassolian, I., Rabiei, G., Gregory, D., Mnejja, M., Wirthensohn, M.G., Hunt, P.W., Gibson, J.P., Ford, C.M., Sedgley, M., and Wu, S.B. (2010). Construction of an integrated almond linkage map in an Australian population Nonpareil x Lauranne. BMC Genomics 11, 551-560.

Picard, M., Wilkinson, K. and Wirthensohn M. (2010). Perceptions and expectations of authorship: Towards development of an e-learning tool facilitating discussion and reflection between post-graduate supervisors and candidates.  Journal of the Education Research Group of Adelaide 1, 21-33.


Wu, S.-B.,  Franks, T.K., Hunt, P.,  Wirthensohn, M., Gibson, J.P. and Sedgley, M. (2010). Discrimination of SNP genotypes associated with complex haplotypes by high resolution melting analysis in almond: implications for improved marker efficiencies. Molecular Breeding 25, 351-357.

Wu, S.-B., Tavassolian, I., Rabiei, G., Hunt, P., Wirthensohn, M., Gibson, J.P., Ford, C.M. and Sedgley, M. (2009). Mapping SNP anchored genes using high resolution melting analysis in almond. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 282, 273-281.

Kolesik, P., Rice, A.D., Bellis, G.A. and Wirthensohn, M.G. (2009). Procontarinia pustulata, a new gall midge species (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) feeding on mango, Mangifera indica (Anarcadiaceae), in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Entomology 48, 310-316.

Sorkheh, K., Malysheva-Otto, L.V., Wirthensohn, M.G., Tarkesh-Esfahani, S. and Martínez-Gómez, P. (2008). Linkage Disequilibrium, Genetic Association Mapping and Gene Localization in Crop Plants. Genetics and Molecular Biology 31, 805-814.

Sorkheh, K., Vezvaei, A., Wirthensohn, M.G., Martinez-Gomez, P. (2008). Pollen Ultrastructure Characterization in Californian and Australian almond cultivars. Journal of the American Pomological Society, 62: 173-177.

Wu, S.-B., Wirthensohn, M., Hunt, P., Gibson, J. and Sedgley, M. (2008). High resolution melting curve (HRM) analysis of almond SNPs derived from EST database. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 118: 1-14.

Franks, T.K., Yadollahi, A., Wirthensohn, M.G., Guerin, J.R., Kaiser, B.N., Sedgley, M. and Ford, C.M. (2008). A seed coat cyanohydrin glucosyltransferase is associated with bitterness in almond (Prunus dulcis) kernels. Functional Plant Biology 35, 236-246.

Wirthensohn, M.G., Chin, W.L., Franks, T.K., Baldock, G., Ford, C.M. and Sedgley, M. (2008). Characterizing the flavour phenotypes of almond (Prunus dulcis Mill., Rosaceae) kernels. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 83, 462-468.

Kolesik, P., Woods, B., Crowhurst, M. and Wirthensohn, M.G. (2007). Dasineura banksiae, a new species of gall midge (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) feeding on Banksia coccinea (Proteaceae) in Australia. Australian Journal of Entomology 46, 40-44.

Wirthensohn, M., Channuntapipat, C., Collins, G., and Sedgley, M. (2006). Long-term cryopreservation of almond germplasm-an update. FAO-CIHEAM-NUCIS Newsletter 13, 25-27.

Wirthensohn, M., Channuntapipat, C., Collins, G. and Sedgley, M. (2006). Update on long-term cryopreservation of almond germplasm. Acta Hort. 726, 127-131.

Tavassolian, I., Wirthensohn, M., Kaiser, B., Sedgley, M. and Ford, C. (2006). The construction of an almond linkage map using morphological and SSR markers on a Nonpareil and Lauranne population. Proceedings of 3rd International Rosaceae Genomics Conference. Napier, New Zealand, 19-22 March 2006, p74.

Wilkinson, J. and Wirthensohn, M. (2005). In search of the perfect almond. Australian Nutgrower 19(3), 14-16.

Gregory, D., Sedgley, M., Wirthensohn, M.G., Arus, P., Kaiser, B. and Collins, G.G. (2005). An integrated genetic linkage map for almond based on RAPD, ISSR, SSR and morphological markers. Acta Horticulturae 694, 67-72.

Wirthensohn, M. and Sedgley, M. (2005). The Prunus Genome, Studies from the Australian almond breeding programme. Summerfruit Australia, 7 (1), 8-9.

Wirthensohn, M., Channuntapipat, C., Ramesh, S. A., Collins, G. and Sedgley, M. (2005) Determination of almond S alleles using PCR primers designed from their introns. Options Mediterraneennes, Serie A, 63, 333-340.

Mekuria, G., Ramesh, S.A., Alberts, E., Bertozzi, T., Wirthensohn, M., Collins, G. and Sedgley, M. (2005). Comparison of ELISA and RT-PCR for the detection of PNRSV and PDV in Australian almond trees. Options Mediterraneennes Serie A, 63, 193-196.

Mekuria, G., Ramesh, S.A., Alberts, E., Bertozzi, T., Wirthensohn, M., Collins, G. and Sedgley, M. (2003). Comparison of ELISA and RT-PCR for the detection of Prunus necrotic ring spot virus and prune dwarf virus in almond (Prunus dulcis). Journal of Virological Methods 114, 65-69.

Channuntapipat, C., Wirthensohn, M., Ramesh, S.A., Batlle, I., Arus, P., Sedgley, M. and Collins, G. (2003). Identification of incompatibility genotypes in almond (Prunus dulcis Mill.) using specific primers based on the introns of the S-alleles. Plant Breeding 122, 164-168.

Guerin, J., Wu, S., Mekuria, G., Collins, G., Jones, G., Burr, M., Wirthensohn, M., Lavee, S. and Sedgley, M. (2002). Olive cultivar improvement through selection and biotechnology. Advances in Horticultural Science 16, 198-203.

Wirthensohn, M.G. and Sedgley, M. (2002). Almond breeding in Australia. Acta Horticulturae 591, 245-248.

Wirthensohn, M.G. and Sedgley, M. (2000). Production, postharvest treatment and epicuticular wax structure of cut stems of Eucalyptus L.Her foliage. Acta Horticulturae 518, 183-186.

Wirthensohn, M.G., Sedgley, M. and Jones, G.P. (2000). Epicuticular Wax of Juvenile Eucalyptus Leaves and Headspace Analysis of Leaf Volatiles. Journal of Essential Oils 12, 401-411.

Wirthensohn, M.G., Collins, G., Jones, G. and Sedgley, M. (1999). Variability in Waxiness of Eucalyptus gunnii Foliage for Floriculture. Scientia Horticulturae 82, 279-288.

Wirthensohn, M.G. and Sedgley, M. (1998). Effect of pruning on regrowth of cut foliage stems of 17 Eucalyptus species. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 38, 631-636.

Wirthensohn, M.G., Sedgley, M. and Ehmer, R. (1996). Production and Postharvest Treatment of Cut Stems of Eucalyptus L.Her. Foliage. HortScience 31, 1007-1009.

Professional Interests

Professional service: Board Member of Olives South Australia , Member of Editorial Board, Acta Horticulturae 726

Qualified person (QP) IP Australia Plant Breeders Rights

Entry last updated: Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015

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