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Professor Amanda Able

Telephone +61 8 8313 7245
Position Professor in Plant Science
Fax +61 8 8313 7109
Building Waite Building
Floor/Room GN 12
Campus Waite
Org Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

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Biography/ Background

  • B.App.Science majoring in Plant Biology & Environmental Systems (USQ, 1993)
  • B.App.Science (1st Class Honours) (USQ, 1994)
  • PhD (USQ, 1998)
  • Plant Physiologist, Queensland Dept Primary Industries (1998-2001)
  • Lecturer in Plant Science, The University of Adelaide (2001-2004)
  • Senior Lecturer in Plant Science, The University of Adelaide (2005-2011)
  • Assoc Prof in Plant Science, The University of Adelaide (2012-2014)
  • Professor in Plant Science, The University of Adelaide (2015-)

Teaching Interests

I am currently the Associate Dean (Curriculum) for the Faculty of Sciences. In this role I am responsible for overseeing the development and assessment of the undergraduate curricula across the degrees within the Faculty. In particular, I am focused upon ensuring the curriculum allows graduates to obtain the required set of attributes for future employment and contribution to their community. In addition, we ensure the assessment methods are appropriate and that learning and teaching standards are of a high quality. 

I have continued my focus on assessment and e-learning in my research through involvement in Office of Learning and Teaching projects. In particular, I am part of the AgLTAS team that has developed the national Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for Agriculture, recently endorsed by the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (see

Undergraduate teaching includes courses as diverse as Plant Health; Biotechnology Practice III; Botany II, Foundations in Plant Science, Plant Biotechnology and Plant Molecular Biology. At a postgraduate level, I teach and coordinate Foundations in Plant Biotechnology. 

I am passionate about educating the next generation of scientists and was awarded the Executive Dean's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005, the Australian Society of Plant Scientists Teaching Award in 2009 and was the Education and Training Program Leader within the Molecular Plant Breeding CRC from 2003 to 2008.

I am currently the supervisor of two PhD students in my laboratory and have had fifteen PhD students and one Masters student successfully graduate since 2002. For Honours students completed under my supervision, I have had nine students with first class Honours and eight with a higher second class. I have also supervised the project of a course-work Graduate Diploma student to completion.

Research Interests


Our research focuses on understanding how a plant defends itself against disease, the impact of nutrition on plant disease and the postharvest physiology of fruits and vegetables. Specific areas of research in the Able laboratory include:

  • Toxin production by the barley net blotch pathogen Pyrenophora teres
  • Ripening mechanisms in capsicum (bell pepper)
  • Effect of 1-methylcyclopropene on banana ripening and banana aroma/flavour
  • Effect of storage and processing on antioxidants and other bioactives in hull-less barley grain for human food and durum for pasta


Recent publications (since 2009)

1. Books/book chapters/DVDs

Joyce D, Able AJ, Cover M, D'Arcy B (2009) Perfume and Consumer Acceptability of Cut Ptilotus Flowers. RIRDC Publication No 09/141

Able AJ, Coombe L, Bray H, McDiarmid L, Pettman T (2009) Introduction to Molecular Techniques: Theory & Practice. Educational DVD,

2. Refereed Works

2.1 Refereed Journals

Ismail IA, Godfrey D, Able AJ (2014) Proteomic analysis reveals the potential involvement of xylanase from Pyrenophora teres f. teres in net form net blotch disease of barley. Australasian Plant Pathology 43: 715-726.

Botwright Acuña, T. L., Kelder, J., Able, AJ, Guisard, Y., Bellotti, W., McDonald, G., Doyle, R., Wormell, P., Meinke, H. (2014) Academic, industry and student perspectives on the inclusion of "vocational knowledge" in a ‘learning and teaching academic standards statement' for agriculture. Journal of Learning Design, 7:1-5.

Ismail A. Ismail, Godfrey D, Able AJ (2014) Fungal growth, proteinaceous toxins and virulence of Pyrenophora teres f. teres on barley. Australasian Plant Pathology DOI 10.1007/s13313-014-0295-6.

Loveys BR, Kaiser BN, McDonald G, Kravchuk O, Gilliham M, Tyerman S, Able AJ (2014) The development of student research skills in second year plant biology. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 23(3):15-25.

Wuryamoto E, AJ Able, C Ford, ES Scott (2014) Effect of volatile citral on the development of blue mould, green mould and sour rot on navel orange. Australasian Plant Pathology DOI 10.1007/s13313-014-0281-z.

Able AJ, Smyth H, Joyce D (2014) Postharvest physiology and volatile production by flowers of Ptilotus nobilis. Postharvest Biology & Technology 88: 61-71.

Al-Fahdawi MS, Able JA, Evans M, Able AJ (2014) Response of durum wheat to different levels of zinc and Fusarium pseudograminearum. Crop & Pasture Science 65: 61-73.

Aizat WM, Dias DA, Stangoulis JCR, Able JA, Roessner U, Able AJ (2014) Metabolomics of capsicum ripening reveals modification of the ethylene related-pathway and carbon metabolism. Postharvest Biology & Technology 89: 19-31.

Aizat WM, Able JA, Stangoulis JCR, Able AJ (2013) Characterisation of ethylene pathway components in non-climacteric capsicum. BMC Plant Biology 13: 191.

Aizat WM, Able JA, Stangoulis JCR, Able AJ (2013) Proteomic analysis during capsicum ripening reveals differential expression of ACC oxidase isoform 4 and other candidates. Functional Plant Biology 40: 115-1128.

Le TD, McDonald G, Scott ES, Able AJ (2013) Infection pathway of Botrytis cinerea in capsicum fruit (Capsicum annum L.). Australasian Plant Pathology 42: 449-459.

Khoo KHP, Able AJ, Able JA (2012) The isolation and characterisation of the wheat Molecular ZIPper I homologue, TaZYP1. BMC Research Notes 5: 106,

Khoo KHP, Able AJ, Chataway T, Able JA (2012) Preliminary characterisation of two early meiotic wheat proteins after identification through 2DGE proteomics. Functional Plant Biology 39: 222-235.

Wong DJC, Ismail IA, Godfrey D, Able AJ (2012) Death by toxin: Net blotch disease of barley. Microbiology Australia 33(1): 34-35.

Kabir AH, Paltridge NG, Able AJ, Paull JG, Stangoulis JCR (2012) Natural variation for Fe efficiency is associated with upregulation of Strategy I mechanisms and enhanced citrate and ethylene synthesis in Pisum sativum L. Planta 235(6):1409-19.

Kueh KH, McKay SF, Facelli E, Facelli JM, Velzeboer RMA, Able AJ, Scott ES (2012) Response of selected South Australian native plant species to Phytophthora cinnamomi. Plant Pathology 61: 1165-1178.

Khoo KHP, Able AJ, Able JA (2012) Poor homologous synapsis 1 (PHS1) interacts with chromatin but does not co-localise with ASYnapsis 1 (ASY1) during early bread meiosis in bread wheat. International Journal of Plant Genomics 2012: Article ID 514398 doi:10.1155/2012/514398.

Moradinezhad F, Kleiber A, Sedgley M, Able AJ (2010) Effect of Ripening Temperatures on Shelf Life and Quality of Partially Ripened 1-MCP-Treated Bananas. Acta Horticulturae 877: 353-357.

Moradinezhad F, Kleiber A, Sedgley M, Able AJ (2010) Timing of 1-Methylcyclopropene Exposure in Relation to Ethylene Application Influences Shelf Life of Cavendish Bananas. Acta Horticulturae 877: 305-310.

Lightfoot DJ, Able AJ (2010) Growth of Pyrenophora teres in planta during barley net blotch disease. Australasian Plant Pathology 39(6): 499-507.

Moradinezhad F, Sedgley M, Able AJ (2010) Effect of pre-ripening chilling temperatures on ripening, shelf life and quality of bananas treated with 1-methylcyclopropene. International Journal of Food Science & Technology 45: 312-318.

Sarpeleh A, Tate ME, Wallwork H, Catcheside D, Able AJ (2009) Characterisation of low molecular weight phytotoxins isolated from Pyrenophora teres. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 73: 154-162.

2.2 Refereed conference papers

Ismail IA, Godfrey D, Able AJ (2013) Fungal growth and proteinaceous toxins in net blotch disease of barley. Proceedings of the 16th Australian Barley Technical Symposium, Vol 16 (CD).

Walker D, Conran J, Trengove C, Loveys B, Able AJ (2013) Interactive e-learning resources for the development of diagnostic abilities and research skills. Education Research Group Adelaide Conference 2013.

Das S et al (2013) Characterisation of toxins from Pyrenophora teres in net form net blotch disease. Proceedings of the 16th Australian Barley Technical Symposium Vol 16 (CD).

Professional Interests

Prizes and Awards: Australian Society of Plant Scientists Teaching Award, 2009; SA Tall Poppy of the Year, 2006; SA Tall Poppy Award, 2006; CRCA Excellence and Innovation in Education Award, 2006; Faculty of Sciences Excellence in Teaching Prize, 2005; Australasian Plant Pathology Society, Allen Kerr Prize, 1999; Royal Society of Edinburgh International Bursary Prize, 1998; USQ Pro-Vice Chancellor Research and Higher Degree Award, 1995; USQ Faculty of Sciences Medal, 1994.

Other Professional Service: Faculty of Sciences Associate Dean (Undergraduate Experience)(2012- ); Convenor, Faculty of Sciences Academic Programs Committee Convenor (2011- ); Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching), School of Agriculture, Food & Wine (2010-2012 ); Partner in Scientists in Schools Program (2010 - ); Tall Poppy Campaign: promoting intellectual achievement and careers in science through school visits and community events (2006 -); Education Program Leader, Molecular Plant Breeding CRC (MPB CRC) (2002-2008); member of TAFE SA Veterinary and Applied Science Industry Advisory Board (2003-2008); Member of AIPS & DFEEST Tall Poppy Advisory Board (2009-2011); Education Representative, Australian Society of Plant Scientists Council (2009-2010); Chair, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine Marketing Communication & Outreach Committee (2009-2010); Editorial Board, Australasian Plant Pathology (2009-2012) and Annals of Applied Biology (2002-2008); SA Councillor, Australasian Plant Pathology Society (APPS) (2001 - ); Program coordinator for the Masters in Biotechnology (Plant Biotechnology) (2006-2011); Chair of International APPS Conference 2007: developed and implemented business plan successfully (with 20% profit) (2006-2008); Queensland Government Ambassador for Women in Science in School (1998-2001)

Community Engagement

As a former SA Tall Poppy (Tall Poppy of the Year for 2006), I often talk to schools and/or the community about science and in particular biotechnology's role in plant biology and food (crop)production. I am also partnered with Heathfield High School in the Scientists in Schools program.

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesAgriculture & Farming, Science & Technology
ExpertisePlant pathology; postharvest science; plant biotechnology; science education; careers in agriculture
NotesSA Tall Poppy of the Year 2006 Associate Dean (Undergraduate Experience) for the Faculty of Sciences
Mobile0459 839 729

Entry last updated: Sunday, 24 Jan 2016

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