Dr Anthony Young

Senior Lecturer - Crop Protection

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 54601 358


I have a keen interest in the evolutionary relationships that underpin symbioses, particularly those involved in plant disease. There are countless examples of how diseases have impacted on different crops throughout history, and this is an ongoing issue that deleteriously impacts food security. My research involves developing a better understanding of the epidemiology of plant diseases, and delivering improved diagnostics and field management. Working with collaborators and international experts, my work involves research on a broad range of plants that are affected by bacteria, fungi, oomycetes and viruses. I have a strong interest in the biotic factors that govern soil health and the methods by which we can promote the development of beneficial microbial communities.

Research Interests

  • Agricultural Soil Health
    Assessing soil health and promoting practices which improve it.
  • Discovering pathogens and other endosymbionts of sugarcane
    Using molecular techniques to identify the presence of different organisms associated with sugarcane and its relatives. These include the organism responsible for chlorotic streak and bacterial strains closely related to those that cause ratoon stunting disease.
  • Assess whether yellow canopy syndrome (YCS) is associated with Leifsonia strains
    A range of xylem-limited Leifsonia strains have been associated with sugarcane and its relatives in Australia and Indonesia. This work aims to determine if they are associated with yellow canopy syndrome (YCS).
  • Determine if Leifsonia were associated with Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea
    New Guinea is the centre of origin for sugarcane, however, RSD was only introduced there into commercial plantations at Ramu within the past 20 years. Travelling to relatively undisturbed sites, I wish to determine whether Leifsonia bacteria are naturally associated with S. officinarum in its centre of origin.
  • Improve mungbean performance against halo blight and tan spot
    The bacterial diseases halo blight (Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. phaseolicola) and tan spot (Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens subsp. flaccumfaciens) are major production constraints to Australian and international mungbean crops. Working closely with collaborators at QUT and DAF, we are aiming to identify improved genetic traits against these diseases and develop enhanced diagnostic tests for these targets.

Research Impacts

My previous research has had significant impacts in crop production, including management of chlorotic streak and ratoon stunting diseases of sugarcane, improved potato production in the southern Philippines, and identification of quarantine and biosecurity risks within Australia and abroad. There are exciting opportunities to work on a broad range of different crop presentations and to deploy the latest in molecular technologies to address the many challenges facing agriculture in the 21st Century.


  • Bachelor of Science, Macquarie University
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University


View all Publications


  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Pasture Dieback is destroying pastures throughout Queensland and no-one knows what's causing it, or how to manage it. There is significant scope for Honours, Masters and PhD research on this topic.

View all Available Projects


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Coates, Lindy, Akem, Chrys, Cooke, Tony, Dann, Elizabeth and Young, Anthony (2010). Mango. In Denis Persley, Susan House and Tony Cooke (Ed.), Diseases of fruit crops in Australia (pp. 157-174) Collingwood, VIC, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Grice, Kathy, Henderson, Julieane, Pattison, Tony, Thomas, John, Vawdrey, Lynton and Young, Anthony (2009). Banana. In Tony Cooke, Denis Persley and Susan House (Ed.), Diseases of Fruit Crops in Australia (pp. 65-89) Australia: CSIRO.

  • Young, A. and Brumbley, S. M. (2004). Ratoon stunting disease of sugarcane: History, management and new research. In Rao, G. P., Saumtally, Salem and Rott, Philippe (Ed.), Sugarcane pathology. Vol. III: Bacterial and nematode diseases 3rd ed. (pp. 97-124) Enfield, U.S.: Science Publishers.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Pasture Dieback is destroying pastures throughout Queensland and no-one knows what's causing it, or how to manage it. There is significant scope for Honours, Masters and PhD research on this topic.