Associate Professor Elizabeth Dann

Principal Research Fellow

Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
e.dann@uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 32455

Overview

Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Dann joined QAAFI’s Centre for Plant Science in October 2010. She is a plant pathologist based at the Ecosciences Precinct at Dutton Park. Her research aims to increase the productivity and quality of tropical and sub-tropical crops through improved management of diseases.

She obtained her PhD in 1995 from the University of Sydney, and undertook post doctoral research at Michigan State University, USA and at the University of Sydney, prior to joining the Plant Pathology (Horticulture) research team within the Queensland Government in 2002.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Dr Dann has broad expertise in the discipline of plant pathology. Her diverse area of research includes investigation of natural defence mechanisms in plants, plant disease epidemiology and diagnostics. Her research is very focused on delivering improved quality and productivity to horticultural industries through optimised disease management.

She is recognised internationally for her work on systemic induced resistance in plants and its practical implementation. A large component of her research is focused on assessing non-traditional products or treatments that may be valuable in disease management, such as compounds which activate disease resistance pathways. Such products are becoming more popular given concerns over pesticides in the environment and residues in fruit, and the drive towards more sustainable production of our food.

Dr Dann supervises several students on projects investigating molecular diversity and epidemiology of fungal pathogens and constitutive and inducible plant defences.

Current active areas of research include: assessment of avocado rootstocks for resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi optimising phosphonate treatments for management of Phytophthora root rot epidemiology of brown root rot disease of avocados and related molecular diversity of causal “Phellinus noxius” fungi assessment of best management practices for reducing losses in mango and avocado caused by postharvest diseases investigations of UV-C exposure of fruit for disease control systemic induced resistance in passionfruit to Passionfruit Woodiness Virus evaluation of soil amendments for improved soil and plant health and soilborne disease suppression.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Sydney

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Avocado is affected by fruit and orchard diseases caused by several different fungi. Stem end rot of fruit and branch canker and dieback are diseases associated with Botryosphaeria fungi (eg. Fusicoccum, Neofusicoccum and Lasiodiplodia), Phomopsis sp. Pestalotiopsis and others, yet we don't really know if fungi are specific to either fruit disease or branch dieback, or whether they are generalists and can infect all plant parts. Firstly, a survey of fruit and orchards from all growing regions across Australia will establish an isolate collection. These will be accurately identified, and molecular phylogeny studies undertaken. Pathogenicity tests will check for ability of different species or isolates within a species to cause disease in different plant tissues. The student will evaluate factors exacerbating severity and potential management strategies, eg. fungicidal graft and pruning wound dressings, or targeted orchard treatments. The potential of Scolytid beetles to vector the pathogenic fungi may be investigated, time permitting. The project may be expanded to include other crop species, such as blueberry.

    The PhD student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or soil science knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455

  • Species of Colletotrichum fungi are responsible for anthracnose disease of many horticultural crops, including avocado and mango. Fungi infect throughout the fruit development period, however symptoms are not commonly observed until fruit have been harvested and ripen in distribution facilities or consumers’ fruit bowls. The fruit rot can be so severe that consignments in the market could be rejected, and/or consumers are disappointed in their purchase.

    Successful management practices include conventional and “bio” fungicide sprays in orchards. It is pertinent to check from time to time that the commonly used industry fungicides are effective, and that populations of Colletotrichum have not evolved resistance to those fungicide groups. This project will investigate sensitivity to key fungicides amongst a large number of Colletotrichum isolates collected from avocado orchards across Australia, including unsprayed organic orchards. The research will involve culturing fungi and screening for sensitivity, molecular analyses for mutations responsible for fungicide resistance, and testing a range of isolates for their relative pathogenicity (ability to cause disease) in avocado fruit. The outcomes of this project are extremely important for the avocado industry and will have immediate relevance.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Reglinski, Tony, Dann, Elizabeth and Deverall, Brian (2014). Implementation of induced resistance for crop protection. Induced Resistance for Plant Defense: A Sustainable Approach to Crop Protection. (pp. 249-299) edited by Dale R. Walters, Adrian C. Newton and Gary D. Lyon. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118371848.ch12

  • Dann, E. K., Ploetz, R. C., Coates, L. M. and Pegg, K. G. (2013). Foliar, fruit and soilborne diseases. The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses. (pp. 380-422) edited by Bruce Schaffer, B. Nigel Wolstenholme and Anthony W. Whiley. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI. doi: 10.1079/9781845937010.0380

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

  • Pegg, Ken, Coates, Lindy and Dann, Elizabeth (2009). Avocado. Diseases of Fruit Crops in Australia. (pp. 49-64) edited by Tony Cooke, Denis Persley and Susan House. Collingwood, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Reglinski, Tony, Dann, Elizabeth and Deverall, Brian (2007). Integration of induced resistance in crop production. Induced Resistance for Plant Defence: a sustainable approach to crop protection. (pp. 201-228) edited by Dale Walters, Adrian C. Newton and Gary Lyon. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1002/9780470995983.ch11

  • Hammerschmidt, R. and Dann, E. K. (1999). The role of phytoalexins in plant protection. Novartis Foundation Symposium 223: Insect-Plant Interactions and Induced Plant Defence. (pp. 175-187) edited by D. J. Chadwick and J. A. Goode. Chichester, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470515679.ch12

  • Hammerschmidt, R. and Dann, E. K. (1997). Induced resistance to disease. Environmentally Safe Approaches to Crop Disease Control. (pp. 177-199) edited by J. E. Rechcigl and N. Rechcigl. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781351071826

  • Deverall, B. J. and Dann, E. K. (1995). Induced resistance in legumes. Induced Resistance to Disease in Plants. (pp. 1-30) edited by R. Hammerschmidt and J. Kuc. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. doi: 10.1007/978-94-015-8420-3_1

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal 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.

  • Avocado is affected by fruit and orchard diseases caused by several different fungi. Stem end rot of fruit and branch canker and dieback are diseases associated with Botryosphaeria fungi (eg. Fusicoccum, Neofusicoccum and Lasiodiplodia), Phomopsis sp. Pestalotiopsis and others, yet we don't really know if fungi are specific to either fruit disease or branch dieback, or whether they are generalists and can infect all plant parts. Firstly, a survey of fruit and orchards from all growing regions across Australia will establish an isolate collection. These will be accurately identified, and molecular phylogeny studies undertaken. Pathogenicity tests will check for ability of different species or isolates within a species to cause disease in different plant tissues. The student will evaluate factors exacerbating severity and potential management strategies, eg. fungicidal graft and pruning wound dressings, or targeted orchard treatments. The potential of Scolytid beetles to vector the pathogenic fungi may be investigated, time permitting. The project may be expanded to include other crop species, such as blueberry.

    The PhD student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or soil science knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455

  • Species of Colletotrichum fungi are responsible for anthracnose disease of many horticultural crops, including avocado and mango. Fungi infect throughout the fruit development period, however symptoms are not commonly observed until fruit have been harvested and ripen in distribution facilities or consumers’ fruit bowls. The fruit rot can be so severe that consignments in the market could be rejected, and/or consumers are disappointed in their purchase.

    Successful management practices include conventional and “bio” fungicide sprays in orchards. It is pertinent to check from time to time that the commonly used industry fungicides are effective, and that populations of Colletotrichum have not evolved resistance to those fungicide groups. This project will investigate sensitivity to key fungicides amongst a large number of Colletotrichum isolates collected from avocado orchards across Australia, including unsprayed organic orchards. The research will involve culturing fungi and screening for sensitivity, molecular analyses for mutations responsible for fungicide resistance, and testing a range of isolates for their relative pathogenicity (ability to cause disease) in avocado fruit. The outcomes of this project are extremely important for the avocado industry and will have immediate relevance.