Worldwide, the demand for plant-based products and foods is increasing, even as arable land diminishes and global climates change.

Growers and industries require efficient and sustainable solutions to:

  • improve crop productivity and resilience to stress, pests and disease
  • reduce waste
  • develop sustainable and economically viable fibres, biofuels, polymers and therapeutics.

Our world-renowned researchers make and apply the discoveries that improve plant-based foods and products to meet increasing needs.

UQ Science supports more than 120 biologists, chemists and food, crop, soil or environmental scientists working in this research theme.

Research impacts

Growing ideas for a better future

School of Agriculture and Plant Sciences researchers are leading a partnership between research institutions and industry to increase efficiency in crop plant breeding, ultimately helping to overcome global food shortages. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project has enabled researchers to implement the Breeding Program Analysis Tool (BPAT), which aims to significantly improve plant breeding in developing countries and maximise increases in crop yields.

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Using coal seam water to increase agricultural production

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences researchers have developed a way to use coal seam water, a by-product of coal seam gas extraction, to treat irrigation water. In collaboration with industry, the researchers found that using coal seam water instead of more conventional and costlier water amendment facilities proved more robust and would increase agricultural production for landholders while meeting environmental targets.

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Improving broadacre cropping through phosphorus management

In search of more sustainable approaches to maintaining land fertility, our plant and soil science researchers examined the role of subsoil P reserves in maintaining crop productivity in rain-fed cropping systems. By engaging with growers and consultants across north-eastern Australia, our researchers contributed to the development of new fertiliser use guidelines that were adopted regionally and are attracting national attention.

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