Hydrogen Peroxide Priming of Crops for Stress Tolerance Towards Abiotic Stress

School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Associate Professor Surya Bhattarai
Professor Michael Tausz


Join Northern Australia's cropping innovator by undertaking your research higher degree with CQUniversity's Institute for Future Farming Systems. CQUniversity is a leader in delivering practical solutions bolstering the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the growing tropical cropping sector. Recent research suggests that plants can be primed ('made to get ready for defence') by chemical compounds to tolerate stress better. Most chemical compounds were shown to have priming potential (Savvides et al. 2016, Trends in Plant Science 21: 329-340) and have severe economic or environmental drawbacks, except for hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an important plant internal signalling compound involved in stress responses and instrumental in activating defence responses in plant cells. At higher concentrations, hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant rapidly being adopted by agricultural industries to replace toxic compounds to maintain irrigation infrastructure. However, hydrogen peroxide is highly reactive and eventually produces only water and oxygen. Currently, CQU and Evonik Industries (Germany) collaborate to evaluate specialised hydrogen peroxide formulations for applications in irrigation and cropping. This PhD project explores the effects of hydrogen peroxide applications on crop stress tolerance and responses. Knowledge created by this research will underpin strategies to prime crops for environmental stress impacts associated with a more extreme climate, such as e. g. heatwaves.

During this project, some of the tasks the student may undertake include:

  • Planning, preparing and conducting field, laboratory and glasshouse experiments;
  • Applying innovative approaches to testing and developing a new cost-effective approach for priming crop plants for improved tolerance to drought and high temperature;
  • Collecting, processing and analysing plant materials and undertaking physiological, phenological, molecular and metabolomic analysis of the experiments;
  • Collating, analysing & interpreting data using appropriate computer programs and modelling.
Chemical Sciences| Biological Sciences| Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Plant biology, Molecular biology, Crop science
By Negotiation| Rockhampton


This project is associated with the International Engaged Research Scholarship, which offers a 20% reduction in tuition fees for eligible international students.

Other special notes

Funding is also provided by CQUniversity to support research higher degree student project costs, and to support national and international conference presentations. This includes:

For masters by research candidates:

  • up to $4,000 in Candidate Support Funds
  • up to $3,000 for Candidate Travel Support

For doctoral candidates:

  • up to $6,000 in Candidate Support Funds
  • up to $4,500 for Conference Travel Support