Dr Bernhard Wehr

Research Fellow

School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability
Faculty of Science

Lecturer in Soil Chemistry

School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 52081


Acid soil, Aluminium toxicity, soil acidity, rhizosphere, plant roots, root growth, plant cell wall, nutrient uptake, plant nutrition

Having completed my B.Sc. majoring in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Chemistry, I completed my M.Sc. (Agric) in Horticultural Science. After completing a PhD on the effect of heavy metals and aluminium on plant root biochemistry, I have worked for various plant biotechnology companies, focussing on genetic engineering of crops, in-vitro growth, propagation systems and salinity tolerant tree crops. After rejoining the University, I have been involved in minesite rehabilitation, focussing on plant-soil-water relationships. I have completed and ARC funded research on Al toxicity, focussing on the hydrolysis of Al in plant roots. I am currently researching the effect of coal seam water application and the movement of salts in soils. I am also teaching the introductory Soil Science course to undergraduate students.

Research Interests

  • Plant-soil interactions
    Plant roots are growing in soil and plants obtain most of their water and nutrients from the soil. Hostile soil conditions can significantly lower yields and affect profitability of producers. Common soil constraints in Australia and soil salinity and alkalinity, and poor soil physical properties. Management of soil constaints is necessary to increase yield and maintain profitability.
  • Plant root physiology and plant cell walls
    Plant cell walls are the part of plants roots in intimate contact with the soil. In particular, the anionic and cations charges found in plant cell walls play an important in how the plant perceives the soil environment and this affects uptake of nutrients by plant roots. Furthermor,e the architecture of the root system affects how plants can exploit the soil for maximise uptake of water and nutrients.
  • Aluminium toxicity and tolerance in plants
    Aluminium toxicity is a significant problem in Australia and the rest of the world. In acid soils, dissolution of Al minerals releases trivalent Al ions which impair root growth. Consequently, water and nutrient uptake is decreased, resulting in yield losses. Understanding why Al is toxic to plant roots and management of acid soils to overcome Al toxicity is important to maintain or increase productivity.
  • Agroforestry
    Diversification of agricultural land use use to incorporate forestry can have a number of benefit for the environment and the producer. By setting aside less productive land for forestry, land degradation can be reversed or at least minimised by reducing wind and water erosion. In addition, forestry can provide habitat for native species and increase biodiversity. Beneficial effects are lowering of watertables in areas where dryland salinity is an issue, thereby preventing land degradation, increased soil carbon sequestration, increased visual amenity and an additional income stream.
  • Land-disposal of waste products
    Beneficial re-use of waste water and waste products such a manure and sewage can maintain or improve productivity by supplying water and nutrients to crops. Careful analysis of risks and benefits is required to evaluate the suitability of land disposal of waste products.


  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Science, S.Africa
  • Bachelor of Science, S.Africa


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Book Chapter

  • Wehr, Johannes Bernhard , Blamey, Frederick Paxton Cardell , Kopittke, Peter Martin and Menzies, Neal William (2020). Aluminum. Managing global resources and universal processes. (pp. 155-174) edited by Brian D. Fath and Sven Erik Jorgensen. Boca Raton, FL, United States: CRC Press/Routledge.

  • Wehr, Johannes Bernhard, Blamey, Frederick Paxton Cardell and Menzies, Neal William (2017). Aluminum. Encyclopedia of Soil Science. (pp. 105-110) edited by R. Lal. Boca Raton, FL United States: CRC Press. doi: 10.1081/E-ESS3-120025114

  • Wehr, Johannes Bernhard, Blamey, Frederick Paxton Cardell and Menzies, Neal William (2017). Aluminum. Encyclopaedia of soil science. (pp. 105-110) edited by Lal Rattan. New York, United States: CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).

  • Blamey, F. Pax C., Kopittke, Peter M., Wehr, J. Bernhard and Menzies, Neal W. (2015). Aluminum. Handbook of Plant Nutrition. (pp. 567-606) edited by Allen V. Barker and David J. Pilbeam. Boca Raton Florida, United States: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/b18458-21

  • Wehr, J. B., Blamey, F. P. C. and Menzies, N. W. (2012). Aluminum. Encyclopedia of Environmental Management. (pp. 269-278) edited by Sven Erik Jorgenson. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)