Matthew Denton

Associate Professor Matthew Denton

Associate Prof/Reader

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I am an Associate Professor of Agronomy. In my group we ask questions related to how plants interact with nutrients and microbes in soils and how we can optimise these interactions to create productive crops and improve food security. I lead multi-disciplinary, multi-country research projects. My major research investigates plant-soil-microbe interactions to improve productivity in farming systems. I have a particular focus on legume crops and pastures but have broad interests in improving farming systems productivity in both developed and developing countries. In addition to my research, I am a Postgraduate Coordinator and am passionate about educating the next generation of agricultural scientists.


I lead several multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional projects related to enhancing farming systems productivity through improving crop, soil and microbial interactions. I am Director of the China-Australia Joint Laboratory for Soil Ecological Health and Remediation, supported by Shandong Academy of Sciences, Qilu University of Technology, the Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment of the South Australian Government, and The University of Adelaide, which enhances agricultural productivity through improved plant microbial management. I am a Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub 'Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture' which improves legume abiotic stress and nitrogen fixation, a project co-funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). I lead an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project 'Management Practices for Profitable Crop-Livestock Systems in Cambodia and Lao PDR' which improves the integration of crop and livestock systems for some of the poorest farmers in SE Asia. I lead Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) projects to enhance legume productivity through improved inoculants and to provide farmers with improved management of nitrogen fertilisers. I have previously led projects in Myanmar and the Middle East.


In these projects I collaborate broadly with SARDI, CSIRO, University of Sydney, Murdoch University, University of Western Australia, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, DPIRD and others. Internationally, I collaborate with University of California Davis (UCD), Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Shandong Academy of Sciences, Qilu University of Technology (China), Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Royal University of Agriculture (Cambodia), National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (Laos).

 Current projects include:


PhD Scholarships


University scholarships for Australian students are known as Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA). These scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and in designated areas of research strength within the University. If a student does not secure an APA, then the School of Physical Sciences considers the option of divisional scholarships (based on academic merit and budget limits). The University also offers a range of Scholarships for international students.

Application involves filling in the "application form for admission/scholarship".

When applying for domestic scholarships please remember to tick both the APA and Divisional box.  After the closing date, the Graduate Centre will forward your application to the School to consider. If an APA is not awarded then the school will consider offering a divisional scholarship.  Further details can be found at the scholarship websites


International scholarships at the University of Adelaide are very competitive. Prospective PhD students who are highly motivated and have recognised English language skills (, previous research experience and publications in internationally refereed journals should contact me to ensure that there are overlapping interests and availability for supervision. Further information on international PhD scholarships can be found here:

Postdoctoral Positions

For general postdoctoral scholarship applications see: Australian Research Council (ARC) 

China -

Germany -


EU residents -

Japan -






Chief Investigators




Rhizobiology training workshop in Yezin, Myanmar

Denton, Gemell, Hartley




Training extension agents and researchers in evaluation of agricultural innovations in Laos and Cambodia

Denton, Monjardino, Kuehne, Philp




Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture

Kaiser, Trethowan, Mathesius, Colmer, Day, Denton, Adams, Barbour, Smith, Merchant, Bramley, Deaker, Young, Sutton, Bird, Ogbonnaya

2016 - 2021



Management Practices for Profitable Crop-Livestock Systems in Cambodia and Lao PDR

Denton, Bell, Phimphachanhvongsod, Sengxua, Sihathep, Vang, Seng

2016 - 2020



Managing legume and fertiliser nitrogen for the southern region

Denton, Unkovich, Herridge, Long, Zhou, McDonald, McNeill

2016 - 2018



Sustainable management practices for profitable crop livestock systems for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR

Denton, Bell




Increasing productivity of legume-based farming systems in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar

Herridge, Denton, Gaur, Guppy, Birchall, Oo, Yi, Myint

2011 - 2018



Nitrogen fixation efficiency in the Medicago truncatula – Sinorhizobium symbiosis


2013 - 2014



Development of conservation cropping systems in the drylands of northern Iraq

Loss, Siddique, Denton, Saliem, Rijabo, AlTak, Jasm

2013 - 2015



Extension of the Nitrogen Fixation Program

Denton, Ballard

2012 - 2017



Optimising Nitrogen Fixation in Pulse Systems

Ballard, Denton

2012 - 2017




I teach into courses within the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. I am a passionate teacher and aim to provide students with a solid basis in agricultural sciences. I hold a graduate certificate in Education (Higher Education).  

Some of the courses that I currently teach into are:

Agricultural Systems 1: lecturing and tutorials and practicals.

Agricultural Production 1: Coordination and lecturing, tutorials and practicals.

Crop and Pasture Production II: lecturing, tutorials and practicals.

Foundations in Plant Science II: lecturing

Livestock Production Science II: lecturing and practicals.

Soil and Plant Nutrition III: tutorial and practical.

Farming Systems in Developing Countries (MSc coursework): Coordination and tutorials.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Principal Supervisor Sustainable Intensification Options in Climate-Smart Maize Legume Cropping Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Donald Siyeni
    2022 Co-Supervisor The ecophysiology of faba bean adaptation and yield determination Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr James Benjamin Manson
    2022 Co-Supervisor Soil Microbiome Diversity in Agricultural Environments with Different Cropping Managements Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Chang Xu
    2019 Principal Supervisor Nutrient Dynamics in Intercropping Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Alyce Hayes Dowling
    2019 Principal Supervisor Effect of Acetolactate Synthase Inhibiting Herbicide Residues on Soil Microbial Communities Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Bernard Brian Dzoma
    2019 Principal Supervisor Genetic Control and Environmental Modulation of Nitrogen Fixation in Chickpea Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Nasir Iqbal
    2018 Principal Supervisor Engaging youth in agricultural entrepreneurship in Laos Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Manithaythip Thephavanh
    2017 Principal Supervisor The Adaptation of Tropical Perennial Grasses to Abiotic Constraints in Sandy Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Chanthy Huot
    2017 Principal Supervisor Physiological and Genetic Characterization of Chickpea Rhizobia Isolated from Australian and Myanmar Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Myint Zaw
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Enhancing the chickpea-Mesorhizobium symbiosis using beneficial rhizobacteria Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Anteneh Argaw Alemneh
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Farmers’ Motivation and Biophysical Impact of using Cordia africana and Albizia coriaria on Coffee-Bean Intercrops in the Mt Elgon Region (Uganda) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Joel Buyinza
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Mechanisms contributing to wheat and maize yield under no-till, stubble retention and nitrogen fertilization in contrasting environments Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Onesmus Musembi Kitonyo
    2014 - 2016 Principal Supervisor The Influence of Temperature on Emissions of Nitrous Oxide and Dinitrogen from Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Thang Viet Lai
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Investigating the potential for bradyrhizobia and phosphate solubilising microorganisms to improve soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) production in acid soils in Ethiopia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Daniel Muleta Fana
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2017 - ongoing Board Member Board of the AW Howard Memorial Trust AW Howard Memorial Trust Australia
    2017 - ongoing Board Member Management Committee of the AW Howard Memorial Trust AW Howard Memorial Trust Incorporated Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2012 - ongoing Member Postgraduate Committee The University of Adelaide Australia
    2012 - ongoing Member Health, Safety and wellbeing The University of Adelaide Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2007 - ongoing Member American Society of Agronomy United States
    2007 - ongoing Member Soil Science Society of America United States
    1996 - ongoing Chair Australian Society for Nitrogen Fixation Australia
    1996 - ongoing Member Australian Society of Agronomy Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2016 - ongoing Steering Committee Chair, ACIAR forage options project Scientific research Australia
    2015 - ongoing ARC Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture Advisory panel Scientific research Australia
    2011 - 2014 ICARDA advisory board for ACIAR Conservation Agriculture project Scientific research Jordan
    2006 - ongoing National Rhizobium Steering Committee - Scientific research Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2017 - ongoing Associate Editor Crop and Pasture Science Australia
    2017 - ongoing Consulting Editor Plant and Soil Netherlands
  • Position: Associate Prof/Reader
  • Phone: 83131098
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83137109
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: Waite, floor G
  • Org Unit: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine - WT

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