University Staff Directory The University of Adelaide Australia
Faculties & Divisions | People A to Z | Media Expertise | Phonebook
Public browsing [Login]
Text Zoom: S | M | L

Dr Matthew Denton

Telephone +61 8 8313 1098
Position Senior Lecturer in Agronomy
Fax +61 8 8313 7109
Building Waite Building
Floor/Room GN 09a
Campus Waite
Org Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

To link to this page, please use the following URL:

Biography/ Background


2014 – present, Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide. I am a Postgraduate Coordinator for the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

July 2010 – 2013, Lecturer, University of Adelaide. I am a Postgraduate Coordinator for the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

2006-2010 Senior Research Scientist, DPI Victoria, managing the Victorian node of the National Rhizobium Program, in collaboration with colleagues at the Centre for Rhizobium Studies, SARDI, DEEDI and NSW I&I, and the CRC Future Farm Industries project 'Acid tolerant lucerne rhizobia' with SARDI and NSW I&I researchers.

2002-2006 ARC Postdoctoral Scientist and Lecturer, at the University of Western Australia, School of Plant Biology, investigating the phosphorus nutrition of native species, including native legumes with potential as pasture species.

2000-2002 Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Minnesota, USA, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, researching legume physiology.

Teaching Interests

I Coordinate and teach in Agricultural systems 1B

I also teach in:

Agricultural Systems 1A

Livestock Production Science (II)

Crop and Pasture Production (II)


Research Interests


twitter: @_mattdenton_


For further details, see:


My research interests are in crop and pasture agronomy, with a strong focus on the role of legumes in farming systems particularly in their contributions of nitrogen supply through N fixation. Research has included assessment of inoculation technologies, analysis of nodulation and nodule occupancy using molecular techniques, and the measurement of nitrogen fixation, principally through isotopic techniques. Other research has investigated phosphorus acquisition mechanisms (carboxylates, phosphatases, root biology) in legumes and other plant groups. New projects have a focus on N cycling in farming systems and in conservation cropping.


Legumes and nitrogen fixation in farming systems

Crop and pasture agronomy

Soil biology

N cycling and losses in farming systems

Phosphorus nutrition

Research Funding

ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub 2015-2019, Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture

This 5-year project will focus on improvements to chickpea N fixation and abiotic constraints. In collaboration with USyd (major partner), SARDI, UWA, ANU, Flinders Uni.


Intensifying crop / livestock systems in Laos and Cambodia (scoping study), 2014, ACIAR

This project identified some key issues related to intensification of crop / livestock systems in Lao PDR and Cambodia and identified a pathway for the development of a new project, flagged for 2016-2019.


Nitrogen Fixation Program – southern region 2012-2017, GRDC

Pulse and pasture legumes can provide an abundant, inexpensive and sustainable source of N into Australian cropping systems. This project will improve the amount of fixed nitrogen (N) contributed to cropping systems in southern Australia (South Australia, Victoria and southern NSW) from pulse legumes.

Collaborators: Dr Liz Drew and Mr Ross Ballard, SARDI; USyd, DAFWA, Centre for Rhizobium Studies, DEEDI


Extension of Nitrogen Fixation Program – southern region 2012-2017, GRDC

This project will work in coordination with other groups around Australia including the Centre for Rhizobium Studies, DAFWA and DEEDI to deliver accurate, relevant, up-to-date information to key growers and agricultural consultants.

Collaborators: Dr Maarten Ryder, Univ Adelaide; Mr Ross Ballard, SARDI; USyd, DAFWA, Centre for Rhizobium Studies, DEEDI


Evaluation of the field efficacy of beneficial microbial products 2012-2013, GRDC

Beneficial microbes include bacteria and fungi which may have improve growth by suppression of plant disease or through plant root growth stimulation.This project will evaluate the field efficacy of multiple putatively beneficial organisms.


Development of conservation cropping systems in the drylands of northern Iraq 2012-2015, ACIAR

This project will improve the productivity and profitability of crops in the drylands of northern Iraq through the application of conservation cropping technologies involving zero-tillage (ZT), stubble mulching, improved crop cultivars and better crop management. Long-term benefits of conservation cropping include improved soil structure and reduced soil erosion.

Collaborators: Dr Yi Zhou and Prof David Coventry, University of Adelaide, Dr Stephen Loss, Dr Colin Piggin, ICARDA (Syria/Jordan), University of Mosul (Iraq), Ministry of Agriculture (Iraq), Prof Kadambot Siddique, University of Western Australia, Dr Jack Desbiolles, UniSA, Dr Jim Fortune, Rural Solutions.


Increasing productivity of legume-based farming systems in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar 2013-2017, ACIAR

The farming communities in Myanmar are poor, with many families spending 70% of their income on food. Providing small-holder farmers with new technologies (crops, varieties and inoculants etc) to increase agricultural productivity through collaborative RD&E is an effective option to address the issues of poverty alleviation and food security.

Collaborators: Prof David Herridge, Dr Chris Guppy, Mr Craig Birchall, University of New England (Australia), Department of Agricultural Research (Myanmar), Yezin Agricultural University (Myanmar), ICRISAT (India).


Industry publications

Drew, Herridge, Ballard, O'Hara, Deaker, Denton et al. 2012 Inoculating legumes: a practical guide. Published by GRDC.


Herridge, Denton, Yates, Seymour. 2013. Rhizobial Inoculants Fact Sheet Harvesting the benefits of inoculating legumes. Published by GRDC.

Selected refereed publications

Denton MD, Pearce DP, Peoples MB (2013) Nitrogen contributions from faba bean (Vicia faba L.) reliant on soil rhizobia or inoculation. Plant and Soil, 365, 363-374.

Drew EA, Denton MD, Sadras V, Ballard RA (2012) Agronomic and environmental drivers of population size and symbiotic performance of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae in Mediterranean-type enivornments. Crop & Pasture Science, 63, 467-477.

Pang J, Tibbett M, Denton MD, Lambers H, Siddique K, Ryan M (2011) Soil phosphorus supply affects nodulation and N:P ratio in 11 perennial legume seedlings, Crop & Pasture Science ,62, 992-1001.

Real D, Li GD, Albertsen TO, Clark S, Denton MD, Hayes RC, D’Antuono MF, Dear BS. (2011) Evaluation of perennial forage legumes and herbs in six Mediterranean environments. Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research, 71, 357-369.

Denton MD, Coventry DR, Bellotti WD, Howieson JG (2011) Nitrogen fixation in annual Trifolium species in alkaline soils as assessed by the 15N natural abundance method. Crop & Pasture Science 62, 712-720.

Pang J, Ryan MH, Tibbett M, Cawthray GR, Siddique KHM, Bolland MDA, Denton MD Lambers H (2010b) Variation in morphological and physiological parameters in herbaceous perennial legumes in response to phosphorus supply. Plant and Soil 331, 41-255.

Pang J, Tibbett M, Denton MD, Lambers H, Siddique KHM, Bolland MDA, Revell CK, Ryan MH. (2010a) Large variation in growth of 11 perennial legumes in response to phosphorus supply. Plant and Soil 328, 133-143.

Reeve W, O’Hara G, Chain P, Ardley J, Bräu L, Nandesena K, Tiwari R, Malfatti S, Kiss H, Lapidus A, Copeland A, Nolan M, Land M, Ivanova N, Mavromatis K, Markowitz V, Kyrpides N, Melino V, Denton M, Yates R, Howieson J (2009) Complete genome sequence of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain WSM1325, a root nodule bacteria of annual Mediterranean clovers. Standards in Genomic Sciences 2, 347-356.

Reeve W, O’Hara G, Chain P, Ardley J, Bräu L, Nandesena K, Tiwari R, Malfatti S, Kiss H, Lapidus A, Copeland A, Nolan M, Land M, Ivanova N, Mavromatis K, Markowitz V, Kyrpides N, Melino V, Denton M, Yates R, Howieson J (2009) Complete genome sequence of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain WSM2304, a microsymbiont of the South American clover Trifolium polymorphum. Standards in Genomic Sciences 2, 66-76.

Denton MD, Pearce DJ, Ballard RA, Hannah MC, Mutch LA, Norng S, Slattery JF (2009) A multi-site field evaluation of granular inoculants for legume nodulation. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 41, 2508-2516.

Tibbett M, Ryan MH, Barker S, Chen Y., Denton MD, Edmonds-Tibbett T, Walker C. (2008). The diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizas of selected Australian Fabaceae. Plant Biosystems 142, 420-427.

Denton MD, Veneklaas EJ, Freimoser FM, Lambers H (2007) Banksia species (Proteaceae) from severely phosphorus-impoverished soils exhibit extreme efficiency in the use and re-mobilisation of phosphorus. Plant, Cell and Environment 30, 1557-1565.

Denton MD, Hill CR, Bellotti WD, Coventry DR (2007) Nodulation of Medicago truncatula and Medicago polymorpha in two pastures of contrasting soil pH and rhizobial populations. Applied Soil Ecology 35, 441-448.

Denton MD, Veneklaas EJ, Lambers H (2007) Does phenotypic plasticity in carboxylate exudation differ among rare and widespread Banksia species (Proteaceae)? New Phytologist 173, 592-599.

Denton MD, Sasse C, Tibbett M, Ryan MH (2006) Root distributions of Australian herbaceous perennial legumes in response to phosphorus placement, Functional Plant Biology 33, 1091-1102.

Tesfaye M, Denton MD, Samac DA, Vance CP (2005) Transgenic alfalfa secretes a fungal endochitinase protein to the rhizosphere. Plant and Soil 269, 233-243.


Selected refereed conference papers

Ryder MH, Denton MD (2014) A national survey of farmers in Australia to understand rhizobial inoculant use for pulse and pasture legumes. International Food Legume Research Conference, Saskatoon, Canada.

Denton MD, Peoples MB (2012). Evaluation of legume inoculant technologies to increase the contribution of fixed nitrogen to subsequent cereal crops. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.

Denton MD, Peoples MB (2010). The importance of inoculant type or application rate for nitrogen fixation by grain legumes in cropping systems of south-eastern Australia. In: Proceedings of the 15th Australian Agronomy Conference, Lincoln, New Zealand. Australian Society of Agronomy.

Humphries AW, Ballard RA, Charman N, Venkatanagappa S, Denton MD, Marshall E, Hayes RC, Auricht GC. (2009) Developing lucerne and rhizobia with improved tolerance to acidic soils: a novel approach. Australian Plant Breeding Conference, Cairns.

Ryan M, Bennett R, Denton M, Hughes S, Mitchell M, Carmody B, Edmonds-Tibbett T, Nicol D, Kroiss L, Snowball R (2008). Searching for native perennial legumes with pasture potential. In. "Global Issues, Paddock Action". Proceedings of the 14th Australian Agronomy Conference, 21-25 September 2008, Adelaide, South Australia. Australian Society of Agronomy.

Community Engagement

I served as Chair of the 17th Australian Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Waite Campus, SA Australia

28 September -2 October 2014




Entry last updated: Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The information in this directory is provided to support the academic, administrative and business activities of the University of Adelaide. To facilitate these activities, entries in the University Phone Directory are not limited to University employees. The use of information provided here for any other purpose, including the sending of unsolicited commercial material via email or any other electronic format, is strictly prohibited. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.