Matthew Denton

Matthew Denton

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences

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

I am an Associate Professor of Agronomy and lead multi-disciplinary, multi-country projects in Australia and overseas. 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:

  • China-Australia Joint Laboratory for Soil Ecological Health and Remediation, funded through Shandong Academy of Sciences, Qilu University of Technology, The the Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment of the South Australian Government, and The University of Adelaide
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Hub on Improving nitrogen fixation in legumes by understanding interactions among legumes, rhizobia and the soil microbiome, co-funded by GRDC - see
  • Improving nitrogen fertiliser decision-making by Australian farmers (GRDC)
  • Enhancing profits of small-holder farmers in Cambodia and Laos through increased crop / livestock integration (ACIAR) - see and previously
  • Increasing productivity in legume-based farming systems in Myanmar (ACIAR) - see
  • Improved farmer knowledge of nitrogen fixation by legume crops and pastures in Australia (GRDC) - resources on nodulation of legumes


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 1A: lecturing and tutorials

Agricultural Systems 1B: coordinating and lecturing, tutorials and practicals.

Crop and Pasture Production: lecturing and practicals.

Foundations in Plant Science: lecturing

Livestock Production Science: lecturing and practicals.

Soil and Plant Nutrition: tutorial and practical

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