Dr Anthony Young

Senior Lecturer - Crop Protection

School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability
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 pests, 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

  • 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.
  • Understanding nematode evolution and pathogen emergence
    Nematodes are the most abundant and diverse of animal life-forms. They play a key role in nutrient cycling and soil health. However, some attack plants we like. Virtually nothing is known about how these relationships develop. That's one subject my team is examining.
  • 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.
  • Epidemiology of pasture dieback
    Pasture dieback is an emerging threat to grazing industries in Queensland. We have a multidisciplinary team examining different aspects of the disorder with a view towards long term, environmentally sustainable management.

Research Impacts

I have led the Australian sugar industry in the management of ratoon stunting disease and chlorotic streak disease, and have had a pivotal role in developing diagnostic tests for bacterial diseases of mungbean. I developed a project that has led to improved potato production in the southern Philippines, while my training and mentorship has delivered pathology and diagnostic expertise to numerous Australian and international scientists. My work on the Australian Sugar Industry Biosecurity Group and related committees has improved biosecurity outcomes in 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


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Available Projects

  • To undertake a PhD project at UQ requires a funded project. These are generally funded by external partners and their availability varies. Traditional and molecular techniques can be applied to a range of pests and pathogens across any crop presentation. More than happy to discuss projects.

View all Available Projects


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Young, Anthony J. (2021). Sampling of bacteria associated with plant vascular tissues. The plant microbiome: methods and protocols. (pp. 31-35) edited by Lilia C. Carvalhais and Paul G. Dennis. New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1040-4_3

  • Williams, Alwyn, van der Bom, Frederik and Young, Anthony J. (2020). Resilient and dynamic soil biology. No-till farming systems for sustainable agriculture: challenges and opportunities. (pp. 251-266) edited by Yash P. Dang, Ram C. Dalal and Neal W. Menzies. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-46409-7_15

  • 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.

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

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

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 — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • 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.

  • To undertake a PhD project at UQ requires a funded project. These are generally funded by external partners and their availability varies. Traditional and molecular techniques can be applied to a range of pests and pathogens across any crop presentation. More than happy to discuss projects.