Associate Professor Mary Fletcher

Principal Research Fellow

Centre for Animal Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

Affiliate Associate Professor

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Science
mary.fletcher@uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 32479

Overview

A/Prof Mary Fletcher is a natural product organic chemist, and leads the Natural Toxin group within the Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation (QAAFI). She has previously worked as a research chemist at both The University Queensland and Queensland Primary Industries (Biosecurity Queensland), before joining the Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation in 2010. A/Prof Fletcher is based at the Health and Food Sciences Precinct (Coopers Plains), and her current work focuses on the identification and analysis of natural toxins in a range of plants, fungi and agricultural products. Such toxins can affect both human and animal health posing risks to production, food safety and market access.

A/Prof Fletcher is also an Affiliate Senior Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (http://www.scmb.uq.edu.au/index.html), and an Affiliated Scientist at the Biosciences eastern & central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub in Nairobi, Kenya (http://hub.africabiosciences.org/).

A/Prof Fletcher is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and in 2016 was elected President of the Queensland Branch of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (http://www.raci.org.au/branches/qld-branch).

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Research Interests

  • Natural Toxins
    A/Prof Fletcher's research interests focus on the identification and analysis of natural toxins in a range of plants, fungi and agricultural products. Such toxins have the potential to form residues in agricultural products and pose a risk to both livestock and human consumers. Toxins of particular interest include mycotoxins, pyrrolizidine alkaloids and indospicine.
  • Mycotoxins and Food Safety
    A/Prof Fletcher leads a UQ team collaborating with CSIRO and BecA in eastern Africa in the area of food safety and food security. Many food crops are susceptible to infection by fungi that produce toxic secondary metabolites (mycotoxins) with such toxins being detrimental to health, trade and development, particularly in developing countries that rely on such crops as dietary staples. The Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) project team has established an analytical platform for the detection of mycotoxins in maize (a dietary staple in sub-saharan Africa), and is utilising this platform to enable Kenyan and Tanzanian national maize breeders to screen breeding germplasm and released varieties for aflatoxin susceptibility.(http://hub.africabiosciences.org/activities/research/299-capacity-and-action-for-aflatoxin-reduction-in-eastern-africa-caarea)

Research Impacts

Throughout her career A/Prof Fletcher has applied her chemical skills to address diverse problems that pose threats to agricultural industries, from the identification of fruit fly pheromones to the determination of plant toxins responsible for livestock deaths, and more recently to the identification of bone volatiles attractive to phosphorous deficient cattle. A/Prof Fletcher currently supervises a number of post-graduate students in the area of natural toxins, and the application of analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to evaluate and minimise risks associated with these toxins. Her work has particular application in the areas of food safety and food security, both in Australia and overseas, with current projects addressing the impacts of carcinogenic mycotoxin contamination of staple foods in sub-saharan Africa.

Qualifications

  • BSc, The University of Queensland
  • BSc (Hons), The University of Queensland
  • PhD, The University of Queensland

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

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Available Projects

  • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are natural carcinogens present in approximately 3 percent of flowering plants. Internationally it has been reported that such toxins can be found in honey due to transfer of pollen by bees. This project will utilise liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) technology to investigate the presence of such alkaloids in Queensland honey samples.

  • The amino acid indospicine is an arginine-analogue found only in Indigofera plant species and has been shown experimentally to be hepatotoxic in a number of animal species. Indospicine is an unusual amino acid in that it is not incorporated into proteins, but is present as the free amino acid. Indospicine accumulates as the free amino acid in tissues of animals fed Indigofera plant material, and such residues have been shown to persist for several months after cessation of feeding. Dogs are particularly sensitive to the hepatotoxic affects of indospicine, and canine fatalities have been reported from the consumption of indospicine contaminated meat from both camels and horses grazing Indigofera plants in central Australia.

    Indigofera plant species are generally quite palatable with good nutritive value, and have been proposed as potentially valuable forage species. However, the presence of indospicine has limited this potential with high intake of Indigofera shown to have hepatotoxic effects in grazing animals including cattle. This is a laboratory-based project investigating the prevalence of indospicine in a range of Indigofera plant species, and will involve the extraction and chemical analysis of plant samples by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Fletcher, Mary T. and Barry Blaney (2016). Mycotoxins. In Colin Wrigley, Harold Corke, Koushik Seetharaman and Jon Faubion (Ed.), Encyclopedia of food grains. Volume 2: nutrition and food grains. Second edition ed. (pp. 290-296) Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-394437-5.00112-1

  • Fletcher, Mary T., Ossedryver, Selina M. and Chow, Sharon (2015). Effect of the Pimelea Toxin Simplexin on Cattle. In Mengli Zhao, Terrie Wierenga and Kip Panter (Ed.), Poisonous Plants: Toxicology, Ecology, Management, and Medicine (pp. 83-88) Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, Chin: ISOPP9.

  • Woolford, Lucy, Fletcher, Mary and Boardman, Wayne (2015). Suspected toxic hepatopathy of plant origin in wild southern hairy nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons). In Mengli Zhao, Terrie Wierenga and Kip Panter (Ed.), Poisonous Plants: Toxicology, Ecology, Management, and Medicine (pp. 100-106) Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China: ISOPP9.

  • Harvey, Jagger, Gnonlonfin, Benoi, Fletcher, Mary, Fox, Glen, Trowell, Stephen, Berna, Amalia, Nelson, Rebecca and Darnell, Ross (2013). Improving diagnostics for aflatoxin detection. In Aflatoxins: finding solutions for improved food safety (pp. 1-2) Washington, DC, USA: International Food Policy Research Institute. doi:10.2499/9780896296763

  • Fletcher, M. T., Chow, K. Y. S., Silcock, R. G. and Milson, J. A. (2011). LC/MS/MS analysis of the daphnane orthoester simplexin in poisonous Pimelea species of Australian rangelands. In Franklin Riet-Correa, Jim Pfister, Ana Lucia Schild and Terrie Wierenga (Ed.), Poisoning by plants, mycotoxins, and related toxins (pp. 550-556) Wallingford, England, U.K.: CAB International.

  • Fletcher, M. T., McKenzie, R. A., Reichmann, K. G. and Blaney, B. J. (2011). Risks from plants containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids for livestock and meat quality in Northern Australia. In Franklin Riet-Correa, Jim Pfister, Ana Lucia Schild and Terrie Wierenga (Ed.), Poisoning by plants, mycotoxins, and related toxins (pp. 208-218) Wallingford, England, U.K.: CAB International.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Akter, Saleha , Williams, David J., Netzel, Michael , Fletcher, Mary , Tinggi, Ujang and Sultanbawa, Yasmina (2017). Kakadu plum kernels: a novel nutrition source. In: The Future of Food. 2017 Australian Institute of Food Sccience and Technology Convention, Sydney, Australia, (28-28). 17-18 July 2017.

  • Silcock, Richard, Fletcher, Mary T. and Ouwerkerk, Diane (2016). A Possible Way Forward with Pimelea Poisoning in Australian Rangelands. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Rangeland Congress. 10th International Rangeland Congress, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, (188-189). 16-22 July 2016.

  • Falade, T.D.O, Harvey J., Fletcher M., Sultanbawa Y. and Fox G (2016). Aflatoxin contamination predictions in single kernels of maize. In: The 17th ANISG/NZNIRSS Conference “Steaming on with NIR", Moama NSW, (). 19-21 April 2016.

  • Sultan, Saira, Giles, Cindy, Netzel, Gabriele, Osborne, Simone, Netzel, Michael and Fletcher, Mary (2016). Effect of thermal processing on indospicine residues in meat and its digestive fate in the human gastrointestinal tract in vitro. In: International Conference on Global Trends in Safe & Healthy Food, Faisalabad, Pakistan, (38-38). 15-16 February, 2016.

  • Netzel, G., Tan, E. T. T., Netzel, M. and Fletcher, M. (2016). Functional compounds in plants – Indospicine (the “Bad”) and Anthocyanins (the “Good”). In: 1st Queensland Annual Chemistry Symposium, St. Lucia, QLD, Australia, (36-36). 25 November 2016.

  • Sultan, S., Giles, C., Netzel, G., Osborne, S., Netzel, M. and Fletcher, M. (2016). In vitro digestion of indospicine-contaminated camel meat. In: 1st Queensland Annual Chemistry Symposium, St. Lucia, QLD, Australia, (85-85). 25 November 2016.

  • Sultan, S., Giles, C., Netzel, G., Osborne, S., Netzel, M. and Fletcher, M. (2016). In vitro digestion of indospicine-contaminated camel meat cooked by microwave. In: 1st Food Chemistry Conference, Shaping the Future of Food Quality, Health and Safety, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (P1.4.17). 30 October – 1 November 2016.

  • Sultan, S., Netzel, G., Osborne, S., Addepalli, R., Chen, W., Netzel, M. and Fletcher, M. (2016). Indospicine toxicity in human intestinal cell lines. In: 1st Food Chemistry Conference, Shaping the Future of Food Quality, Health and Safety, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (1.4.18). 30 October – 1 November 2016.

  • Falade, T.D.O, Chrysanthopoulos, P, Hodson, M, Darnell, R, Harvey, J, Fletcher, M, Sultanbawa, Y, Were, S, Korie, S and Fox, G (2016). What does grain chemistry tell us about aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus. In: WMF meets IUPAC, Winnipeg, Canada, (). 6-9 June 2016.

  • Dixon, R. M., Fletcher, M. T., Goodwin, K. L., Reid, D. J., McNeill, D. M., Yong, K. W. L. and Petherick, J. C. (2015). Attraction of phosphorus-deficient cattle to bones. In: Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia, Armidale, NSW, Australia, (53-54). 26-28 October 2015.

  • Castells, L., Dixon, R. M., Kidd, L., Goodwin, K. L., Mayer, R., Fletcher, M. T. and McNeill, D. M. (2015). Capacity of young cows to gain bone and improve lactation. In: Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia, Armidale, NSW, Australia, (49-50). 26-28 October 2015.

  • Lal, Vincent, Peng, Cheng, Fletcher, Mary T., Were, Stephen T. and Ng, Jack C. (2015). Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in spiked and aged soil using modified QuEChERS and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. In: CRC CARE 2015: 6th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference: Program and Proceedings, CleanUp 2015 Conference. International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (227-228). 13-16 September 2015.

  • Tan, E. T. T., Al Jassim, R. A. M., Fletcher, M. T. and D'Arcy, B. R. (2015). In vitro degradation of hepatotoxic indospicine in indigofera spicata by camel foregut fluid. In: G. Konuspayeva, Proceedings of 4th Conference of ISOCARD «Silk Road Camel: Main Stake For Sustainable Development. International Conference of ISOCARD, Almaty, Kazakhstan, (147-149). 8-12 June 2015.

  • Sultan S, Netzel G, Osborne S, Netzel M and Fletcher M (2015). In vitro digestion models for measuring Indospicine bioaccessibility and stability in Camel meat.. In: Abstracts. Tropical Agriculture Conference, Brisbane Australia, (66-67). 16-18 November 2015.

  • Benvenutti, M., Dixon, R. M., Goodwin, K. L., Kidd, L., Mayer, R., Fletcher, M. T. and Anderson, S. (2015). Responses of Bos indicus cows in early lactation to dietary phosphorus deficiency. In: Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia, Armidale, NSW, Australia, (47-48). 26-28 October 2015.

  • Falade, T.D.O, Harvey J., Fletcher M., Darnell R., Sultanbawa Y., Were S. and Fox, G. (2015). Using near infrared spectroscopy to classify aflatoxin contaminated maize.. In: 1st African Symposium on Mycotoxicology, Livingstone, Zambia, (). 26-28 May 2015.

  • Falade, T.D.O, Fletcher M, Harvey J., Darnell, R, Sultanbawa Y, Were S., Karanja J, Turner W., Stasiewicz M. and Fox G. (2014). Aflatoxin contamination predictions in maize using near infrared spectroscopy.. In: The 16th Australian Near Infrared Spectroscopy Group Conference, Coffs Harbour, NSW, (). 4 -7 May 2014.

  • Fletcher, M. T., Tan, E. T. T. and Silcock, R. G. (2014). Indigofera linnaei - a problem legume across northern pastures. In: S. Hatcher, G. L. Krebs and B. W. B. Holman, Proceedings of the 30th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society for Animal Production. Joint ISNH/ISRP International Conference 2014: Harnessing the Ecology and Physiology of Herbivores, Canberra, ACT, Australia, (285-285). 8-12 September 2014.

  • Fletcher, Mary T., Tan, Eddie and Silcock, Richard (2014). Indigofera linnaei – a problem legume across Northern Pastures. In: S. Hatcher, G.L. Krebs and B.W.B. Holman, Proceedings of the 30th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society of Animal Production. International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores/International Symposium on Ruminant Physiology, Canberra A.C.T., (285-285). 8-12 September 2014.

  • Castells, L., McNeill, D. M., Dixon, R. M., Kidd, L. J., Fletcher, M. T. and Goodwin, K. (2014). Phosphorous supplements in pregnancy improve lactation performance of young cows. In: S. Hatcher, G. L. Krebs and B. W. B. Holman, Proceedings of the 30th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society for Animal Production. Joint ISNH/ISRP International Conference 2014: Harnessing the Ecology and Physiology of Herbivores, Canberra, ACT, Australia, (335-335). 8-12 September 2014.

  • Castells domingo, Llorenc, McNeill, David, Dixon, Robert, Kidd, Lisa, Fletcher, Mary T. and Goodwin, Kerry (2014). Phosphorus supplements in pregnancy improve lactation performance of young cows. In: S. Hatcher, G.L. Krebs and B.W.B. Holman, Proceedings of the 30th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society for Animal Production. International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores/International Symposium on Ruminant Physiology, Canberra A.C.T., (335-335). 8-12 September 2014.

  • Turner, W. J., Fletcher, M.T., Pang, Y. L., Dora, L., Fox, G. P., Darnell, R. and Harvey, J. J. W. (2013). Analysis of aflatoxins in single kernels of Kenyan maize. In: 46th Annual AIFST Convention, South Bank, QLD, Australia, (). 14-16 July 2013.

  • Pang, Y. L., Dora, L., Yong, K. W. L., Were, V., Chaliha, M., Fernando, W. C., Cusack, A., Currie, M., Turner, W. J., Fletcher, M. T., Fox, G. P., Harvey, J. J. W. and Sultanbawa, Y. (2013). Detection of aflatoxins in isolated Aspergillus spp. from infected maize. In: 46th Annual AIFST Convention, South Bank, QLD, Australia, (53-53). 14-16 July, 2013.

  • Dora, L., Pang, Y. L., Fernando, W. C., Cusack, A., Currie, M., Chaliha, M., Fletcher, M. T., Fox, G. P., Harvey, J. J. W. and Sultanbawa, Y. (2013). Isolation and characterization of Aspergillus spp from contaminated maize. In: 46th Annual AIFST Convention, South Bank, QLD, Australia, (49-49). 14-16 July 2013.

  • Fletcher, M. T., Ossedryver, S. M. and Chow, S. (2013). Prolonged exposure of cattle to low levels of Pimelea toxins. In: ISOPP9: 9th International Symposium on Poisonous Plants. 第九届世界有毒植物研讨会, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, (). 15-17 July, 2013.

  • Woolford, L., Fletcher, M. and Boardman, W. (2013). Suspected toxic hepatopathy of plant origin in wild southern hairy nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons). In: ISOPP9: 9th International Symposium on Poisonous Plants. 第九届世界有毒植物研讨会, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, (68-68). 15-17 July, 2013.

  • Blaney, Barry and Fletcher, M. T. (2012). Afflatoxins expert from another sector to talk about in-crop risks of afflatoxin. In: 2012 FUSCOM Conference, Goondiwindi, QLD, Australia, (). 19-20 July, 2012.

  • Ossedryver, S. M. and Fletcher, M. T. (2012). Indigofera spicata (creeping indigo) poisoning of horses in Australia. In: 7th Conference of The World Mycotoxin Forum and XIIIth IUPAC International Symposium on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins (WMFmeetsIUPAC2012), Rotterdam, Netherlands, (). 5-9 November 2012.

  • Fletcher, Mary T., Gummow, Bruce, Brock, Ian J, Tranter, William P. and Gardiner, Christopher P. (2012). Ptaquiloside survey of milk samples from Atherton Tableland. In: Glenn Graham, Michael Netzel, Trudy Graham, Mary Fletcher, Gloria Karagianis, Cindy Giles, Ujang Tinggi and Pieter Scheelings, Technology for Food Quality: Proceedings 12th Government Food Analysts Conference. 12th Government Food Analysts Conference, Brisbane, Australia, (61-67). 22-24 February 2011.

  • Fletcher, M. T., Fox, G. P., Turner, W. J., Darnell, R., Boyd, J. A. and Harvey, J. J. W. (2012). Single kernel analysis of fumonisins in maize. In: 7th Conference of The World Mycotoxin Forum and XIIIth IUPAC International Symposium on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins (WMFmeetsIUPAC2012), Rotterdam, Netherlands, (). 5-9 November 2012.

  • Fletcher, Mary T., Ossedryver, Selina M. and Reichmann, Keith G. (2011). Indospicine - a natural residue that kills dogs. In: Proceedings of 23rd Conference of Residue Chemists. 23rd Conference of Residue Chemists, Brisbane, (22-23). 25 - 28 October 2011.

  • Gummow, B., Tranter, W. P., Fletcher, M. T., Brock, I. J. and Gariner, C. P. (2011). Ptaquiloside milk residues: Do they pose a public health risk in Northern QLD?. In: Australian College of Veterinary Scientists Science Week, Gold Coast, Australia, (). 30 June - 2 July 2011.

  • Greenhil, Andrew, Pue, Aisak, Shipton, Warren, Blaney, Barry, Fletcher, Mary, Ng, Jack and Warner, Jeff (2011). Sago haemolytic disease: A foodborne toxicosis with complex aetiology in Papua New Guinea. In: ASM 2011 Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) Annual Scientific Meeting, Hobart, Australia, (). 4-8 July 2011.

  • Fletcher, M. T., Fitzgerald, L. M., Paul, A. E. H., Mansfield, C. S. and O'Hara, A. J. (2010). Hepatotoxicosis in dogs consuming indospicine-contaminated camel meat. In: Australian Association of Veterinary Diagnosticians Conference, Brisbane Qld., Australia, (). 25-26 November 2010.

  • Fitzgerald, Louise, Fletcher, Mary, Paul, Amanda, Mansfield, Caroline and O'Hara, Amanda (2010). Hepatotoxicosis in dogs following consumption of indospicine contaminated camel meat. In: Roger Kelly, Australian Society for Veterinary Pathology & C.L. Davus Foundation Australia : 2010 Annual Conference : Program. Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Veterinary Pathology, Freemantle, Western Australia, (65-66). September 3 - 5 2010.

  • Paul, A., Fitzgerald, L., Fletcher, M., Bell, E., Sharman, M., Irwin, P., Foster, S., Cave, N., O'Hara, A. and Mansfield, C. (2010). Recent pet food toxicities in Western Australia. In: 2010 ACVSc College Science Week proceedings: Small animal medicine research abstracts. Australian College of Veterinary Scientists Science Week 2010, Gold Coast , Qld., Australia, (3-3). 1-3 July 2010.

  • Fletcher, M.T., Chow, K.Y.S., Silcock, R.G. and Milson, J.A. (2009). LCMSMS Analysis of the Daphnane Orthoester Simplexin in Poisonous Pimelea Species of Australian Rangelands.. In: International Symposium on Poisonous Plants 8, Joao Pessoa, Brazil, (42-42). 4-8 May 2009.

  • Fletcher, M.T., McKenzie, R.A., Reichmann, K.G. and Blaney, B.J. (2009). Risks from Plants containing Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids for Livestock and Meat Quality in Northern Australia.. In: International Symposium on Poisonous Plants 8, Joao Pessoa, Brazil, (). 4-8 May 2009.

  • Silcock, R. G., Chow, S., Fletcher, M. T. and Wingett, M. (2008). Pimelea Poisoning – Still a Confusing Story. In: Proceedings of the Australian Society of Animal Production. The Australian and New Zealand Societies of Animal Production First Joint Conference: The 27th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society of Animal Production with The 68th Annual Conference of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production: "From Science to Application", The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, (39-39). 2008.

  • Pue, A., Fletcher, M., Greenhill, A, Warner, J., Ng, J., Blaney, B., Atagazli, L. and Gena, M. (2008). Progress Towards Identification of Haemolytic Agents Responsible for Sago Haemolytic Disease in Papua New Guinea.. In: 44th Papua New Guinea Medical Conference, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, (). 1-5 September 2008.

  • Greenhill, Andrew, Blaney, Barry, Shipton, Warren, Pue, Aisak, Fletcher, Mary and Amoa, Betty (2006). Mycotoxicology of sago haemolytic disease in Papua New Guinea. In: Australia-Europe Symposium on Mycotoxins and Food Safety, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (). 15-17 February 2006.

  • Blaney, B.J., McKenzie, R.A., Fletcher,M., Reichmann, K. and Bricknell, L. (2005). Assessing the risk of plant toxin residues in livestock grazed in northern Australia. In: Proceedings of the 20th Conference of Residue Chemists. 20th Conference of Residue Chemists, Wellington New Zealand, (). 4-7 October 2005.

  • Greenhill, Andrew, Blaney, Barry, Shipton, Warren, Pue, Aisak and Fletcher, Mary (2005). Mycotoxicology of sago haemolytic disease in Papua New Guinea. In: 20th Conference of Residue Chemists, Wellington, New Zealand, (). 4-7 October 2005.

  • Fletcher, Mary T., Chow, Sharon, Lambert, Lynette, Moore, Christopher J., Cribb, Bronwen, Allsopp, Peter G. and Kitching, William (2005). Novel Cuticular Hydrocarbons from the Cane Beetle Antitrogus parvulus: 4,6,8,10,16-Penta ands 4,6,8,10,16,18-Hexamethyldocosanes.. In: Proceedings of 5th Asia-Pacific Congress of Entomology. 5th Asia-Pacific Congress of Entomology, Jeju, Korea, (35-35). 18-21 October 2005.

  • Booth, Y. K., Schwartz, B. D., Fletcher, M. T., Hayes, P. Y. N., Kitching, W. and De Voss, J. J. (2005). Spiroacetal biosynthesis in Bactrocera tryoni (Queensland fruit fly). In: 14th European Symposium in Organic Chemistry. 14th European Symposium in Organic Chemistry, Helsinki, (Abstract). 4-8 July, 2005.

  • Stuthe, J. M. U., Fletcher, M. T., Lambert, L. K., Penman, K. G., Lehmann, R.P., Kitching, W. and De Voss, J. J. (2002). Chemical constitutents of chamaelirium luteum. In: 50th Annual Congress of the Society for Medicinal Plant Research. 50th Ann Congress of the Society for Medicinal Plant Research, Barcelona, ((Poster)). 8-12 September, 2002.

  • Schwartz, B. D., McErlean, C. S. P., Fletcher, M. T., Kitching, W. and De Voss, J. J. (2002). Elucidation of biosynthetic pathways to the spiroacetals in Australian fruit fly species (Bactrocera sp.). In: Brisbane Biological & Organic Chemistry Symposium, Brisbane, ((Abstract)). 29 November, 2002.

  • Chow, K. Y. S., Hayes, P., Fletcher, M. T. and Kitching, W. (2000). Hydrolytic kinetic resolution (HKR) of epoxides key step in the synthesis of insect pheromones. In: 10th International Symposium on Fine Chemistry and Functional Polymers. 10th Int Symp on Fine Chemistry & Functional Polymers, Jinan, PR China, (103-104). 20-23 Sept, 2000.

  • Fletcher, M. T., Hayes, P., Kitching, W., Cribb, B. W., Allsopp, P. G. and Moore, C. J. (1999). Australian sugarcane beetle pheremones. In: Scientific Program and Abstracts of 1st Asia-Pacific Conference in Chemical Ecology. 1st Asia-Pacific Conference on Chemical Ecology, Shanghai, China, (99). 1 - 4 November 1999.

Edited Outputs

  • Technology for Food Quality (2012) . Edited by Glenn Graham, Michael Netzel, Trudy Graham, Mary Fletcher, Gloria Karagianis, Cindy Giles, Ujang Tinggi and Pieter Scheelings. 12th Government Food Analysts Conference, 22-24 February 2011, Brisbane, Australia.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

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.

  • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are natural carcinogens present in approximately 3 percent of flowering plants. Internationally it has been reported that such toxins can be found in honey due to transfer of pollen by bees. This project will utilise liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) technology to investigate the presence of such alkaloids in Queensland honey samples.

  • The amino acid indospicine is an arginine-analogue found only in Indigofera plant species and has been shown experimentally to be hepatotoxic in a number of animal species. Indospicine is an unusual amino acid in that it is not incorporated into proteins, but is present as the free amino acid. Indospicine accumulates as the free amino acid in tissues of animals fed Indigofera plant material, and such residues have been shown to persist for several months after cessation of feeding. Dogs are particularly sensitive to the hepatotoxic affects of indospicine, and canine fatalities have been reported from the consumption of indospicine contaminated meat from both camels and horses grazing Indigofera plants in central Australia.

    Indigofera plant species are generally quite palatable with good nutritive value, and have been proposed as potentially valuable forage species. However, the presence of indospicine has limited this potential with high intake of Indigofera shown to have hepatotoxic effects in grazing animals including cattle. This is a laboratory-based project investigating the prevalence of indospicine in a range of Indigofera plant species, and will involve the extraction and chemical analysis of plant samples by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).