Michael McLaughlin

Dr Michael McLaughlin

Professorial Research Fellow

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences

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


Prof. McLaughlin's research covers soil and environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, risk assessment, food quality, crop nutrition and fertilizer technology. He holds a joint appointment with the School of Agriculture Food and Wine at The University of Adelaide and the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. Prof. McLaughlin established the Fertilizer Technology Research Centre at the University of Adelaide in 2007 supported by The Mosaic Company and various projects support by rural research corporations and the Australian Research Council.

Prof. McLaughlin leads a strong group in soil science, particularly in relation to fertilizer and contaminant chemistry. He has developed and now leads a highly innovative and scientifically diverse research group that addresses a range of issues in soil and environmental chemistry that relate particularly to agricultural plant nutrition, fertilizer application and efficiency, and to soil analysis and soil contamination. His research is a mix of fundamental science leading to high impact research papers coupled to a strong commercialisation of research outcomes - patents relating to use of IR spectroscopy for detection of oil in soils have now been commercialised  as have new remediation technologies. Current research projects related to fertilizers and crop nutrition are listed here.  Recent projects activities in environmental chemistry and soil contamination include:

  • Use of novel materials for remediation of contaminated soils and waters
  • Multi-contaminant remediation agents
  • Fate, bioavailability and remediation of perfluorinated substances (PFAS)
  • Cadmium bioavailability in soils
  • Laboratory and portable spectroscopic methods for identification and quantification of soil nutrients and contaminants

In 2007 Prof. McLaughlin established the Fertilizer Technology Research Centre which is supported by The Mosaic Company,  and various Australian rural research corporation and Australian Research Council project funds. The Centre aims to develop novel fertiliser formulations, by developing and applying advanced isotopic and spectroscopic investigations of reactions between fertilizers and soils, leading to enhanced fertiliser efficiency and reduced environmental pollution.

Do you want to study at the Fertilizer Technology Research Centre?

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 Agriculture Food and Wine considers the option of divisional scholarships (based on academic merit and budget limits). The University also offers a range of Scholarships for international students.

Potential topics for study can be found here.

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

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and 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 http://www.adelaide.edu.au/scholarships/

Further information on international PhD scholarships can be found at:  https://www.adelaide.edu.au/graduatecentre/scholarships/research-international/opportunities/  These are very competitive and normally you would already have a Masters degree with a significant research component and publications in recognised international peer-reviewed journals.

Employment at the Fertilizer Technology Research Centre

Postdoctoral and research support positions arise from time to time and are advertised on the University careers site as well as in general media - if there is no vacancy advertised then there are no positions available.  If you are interested to come to work in the Centre supported externally, please get in touch and Prof. McLaughlin will discuss options with you - various international funding is available for short and longer-term visits that you should explore

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2015 Member of the Southern Panel Grains Research and Development Corporation
    2004 Professor The University of Adelaide, Waite Research Institute
    1991 CSIRO Fellow Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2016 Fellowship Fellow, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
    2016 Award Barry Inglis Medal National Measurement Institute Australia
    2015 Fellowship Fellow, Australian Academy of Sciences
    2015 Recognition International Fertilizer Industry Association Norman Borlaug Laureate
    2014 Honour Member of the Order of Australia, General Division (AM)
    2011 Award International Plant Nutrition Institute Science Award International Plant Nutrition Institute
    2011 Fellowship Awarded CSIRO Fellow status CSIRO Australia
    2009 Fellowship Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1986 The University of Adelaide Australia PhD (Soil Science)
    1979 Reading University England MAgrSc(Soil Science, Dist.)
    1977 University of Ulster Northern Ireland BSc (Hons)
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    Certified Professional Soil Scientist Soil Science Australia
  • Research Interests

Australian Research Council Discovery Project 2017 " Extreme soil acidification and metal release risks from increasing drought due to climate change" (with Prof. Rob Fitzpatrick)

Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub 2017 " The Australian Graphene Research Hub: Un-locking Australia’s Carbon Future" (with Prof. Dusan Losic)

Australian Research Council Discovery Project 2015 "Engineered graphene-based nanofertilizers to improve crop nutrition" (with Prof. Dusan Losic)

Mosaic Fertilizer Technology Research Centre 2007-2019

 

 

I co-convene (with Dr Divina Navarro) the third year elective "Environmental Toxicology and Remediation" which covers the environmental chemistry of contaminants and their ecotoxicological effects, risk assessment and remediation. I also teach into the course Soils and Plant Nutrition convened by Dr Glenn McDonald.

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Principal Supervisor The Effects of Drought on pH and Metal Speciation in Periodically Flooded and Dried Soils Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Austin Myles Trueman
    2018 Principal Supervisor Influence of Previous and Current Water Content on Respiration and Nutrient Availability Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Bo Zheng
    2017 Co-Supervisor The Influence of Magnesium and Manganese Nutrition on Shiraz Grape and Wine Phenolics Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Anthony James Hoare
    2017 Co-Supervisor Mycorrhigas in Urban Agricultural Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Matthias Johannes Salomon
    2016 Principal Supervisor Fate and Bioavailability of Perfluorinated Compounds in Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Emma Rae Knight
    2016 Principal Supervisor Bio fortification of Wheat With Selenium Fertilizers and Crop Residue Management Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Miss Chandnee Ramkissoon
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2015 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Application of graphene based composites in agriculture Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Shervin Kabiri
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Development and Evaluation of Graphene-Based Adsorbents for Remediation of Soil Contaminants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Supriya Lath
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Foliar fertilisation of wheat plants with phosphorus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Courtney Anna Emelia Peirce
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Behaviour and fate of soluble silver added to soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lara Settimio
    2011 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Elemental Sulphur Oxidation in Australian Cropping Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Cuicui Zhao
    2011 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Isotope Studies of Accumulation and Cycling of Phosphorus and Nitrogen Below-ground in Canola and Lupin Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs . Foyjunnessa
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Behaviour of silver and silver sulfide nanoparticles in the environment:
    Effects on wastewater treatment processes and soil organisms
    Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Casey Louise Doolette
    2011 - 2014 Principal Supervisor The development of new slow-release boron fertilizers Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Margaret Anak Abat
    2011 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Improving phosphorus availability in Andisols and Oxisols Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Daniela Fernanda Montalvo Grijalva
    2010 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Development of the Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT) Technique for Plant Available Potassium Measurement in Australian Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yulin Zhang
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor The isotopic discrimination of copper in soil-plant systems: Examining sources, uptake and translocation pathways. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Brooke Marie Ryan
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Effects of exposures to the plasticiser, di-n-butyl phthalate and the pharmaceutical, flutamide on the biomarkers of reproduction in Australian freshwater fish species, Murray rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Harpreet Bhatia
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Crop Residue Phosphorus: Speication and Release in Cropping Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Sarah Ruth Noack
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Physiological Basis for Variable Cadmium Accumulation in Rice : Interaction of Environmental and Genetic Factors Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Matthew Rodda
    2008 - 2010 Principal Supervisor Investigation of the Use of Rhamnolipid Biosurfactant for Cadmium Phytoextraction in Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jia Wen
    2008 - 2010 Principal Supervisor Retention, Release and Plant Availability of Copper and Zinc in Three Tropical Peat Soils of Sarawak, Malaysia Master of Agricultural Science Master Full Time Mrs Margaret Anak Abat
    2007 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in the Soil Environment: Dissolution, Speciation, Retention and Bioavailability Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Narges Milani
    2007 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Cadmium Enrichment in Paddy Rice Grain: Understanding the Effect of Soil Oxidation and Limiting the Risk through Soil and Foliar Treatments Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Jennifer de Livera
    2007 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Increasing Plant Availability of Selenium in Rice Soils under Variable Redox Conditions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Herath Premarathna
    2004 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Chemical Reactions of Polyphosphate Fertilisers in Soils and Solutions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Therese McBeath
    2003 - 2007 Principal Supervisor New Micronutrient Fertilisers for Alkaline Soil Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Samuel Stacey
    2003 - 2007 Co-Supervisor The Fate and Effects of Human Pharmaceuticals in the Aquatic Environment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Michael Williams
    2000 - 2004 Principal Supervisor Copper Availability in Biosolids Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ian Oliver
    1997 - 2004 Principal Supervisor Uptake and Partitioning of Cadmium in Two Cultivars of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Kelly Dunbar
    1997 - 2002 Principal Supervisor SOIL CONTAMINATION AND REMEDIATION Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Richard Collins
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  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Associate Editor Agronomy
    2007 - ongoing Consulting Editor Environmental Chemistry Australia
  • Position: Professorial Research Fellow
  • Phone: 0434765574
  • Email: michael.mclaughlin@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: Prescott (CSIRO), floor 3
  • Room: 3 28
  • Org Unit: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

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