Dr Robyn McConchie
I have a keen interest in sustainability in horticultural production systems with my research focusing on minimising pesticide usage in cropping systems through induced plants defence and commercialisation of native flora.
I have been investigating the mechanisms and effectiveness of elicitor induced plant defence systems for pre and postharvest disease control in fruit and vegetables. This research is of key importance to the industry, since pesticides are increasingly being withdrawn from use because of harm to human health and the environment. My research contributes to reducing reliance on pesticides and developing safer methods of disease control. Significant outcomes of my research include identification of several physiological markers of induced defence in the cucurbit family (PR Proteins), including novel antifungal compounds in leaves and fruit, and strategies for incorporating SAR into on-farm pest management.
My research into the commercialisation and biology of Australian native flora is a long term interest flowing from my PhD work. It includes several projects on Waratah, Umbrella Fern and Protea to improve production, postharvest and supply chain management. I collaborate with the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust Sydney, the NSW Department of Industry and Innovation and Australian Wildflower industry groups.
Currently I am investigating the mechanisms that control flowering that will enable growers to select suitable cultivars and time the marketing of blooms to maximise profitability. This project is a research collaboration between the NSW Wildflower Industry, RBG Trust, RIRDC and the University of Sydney and will examine the contribution of various environmental cues and physiological factors that influence flower induction, initiation and development in selected waratah cultivars.
Robyn has a BSc (Plant Science) from Wye College, University of London, an MA (Education and Work) from Macquarie University and PhD from Louisiana State University (USA). In addition to teaching and research within the Faculty Robyn has been leader of 11 research and capacity building projects in Vietnam, Tonga, Laos and China. From 2007-2009 she was Director, Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, responsible for development of University wide programs in education, research, international leadership training. In 2010 Robyn returned to the Faculty.
Robyn is a member of the Australian, American and International Societies for Horticultural Science, and is currently Secretary of the Board of WildFlowers Australia and is a member of the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust Scientific Advisory Committee. She is also a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
- Kumar, V. and McConchie, R. 2010. Involvement of antifungal compounds from rockmelon fruit rind (Cucumis melo L.) in resistance against the fruit rot pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. meloni. Eur. J. Pl. Path. 126 :531-540.
- Bokshi, A.I., Jobling, J. and McConchie, R.M. 2008. A single application of Milsana® followed by Bion® assists in the control of powdery mildew in cucumber and helps overcome yield losses. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 83: 701-706.
- Martyn, A.J., Larkum, A.W.D., McConchie, R. and Offord, C. A. 2008. Photoinhibition and pigment changes associated with bract browning of waratahs (Telopea spp., Proteaceae). Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 83:367-373.
- Tan V.T., McConchie, R., Morris, S., Tanner, D. and R. Herbert Using mathematical models to predict keeping quality of pink lady apples. 2008. Acta Horticulturae. 803: 319-326.
- Martyn, A.J., Thomas, C.R., O’Neill, M.E., Offord, C.A. and McConchie, R. 2007. Bract browning in waratahs (Telopea spp.) is not a localised calcium deficiency disorder. Scientia Horticulturae 112:434-438.
- Martyn, A.J., McConchie, R, and Offord, C.A. 2007. Characterisation of bract browning and the effect of shade on browning in waratah (Telopea spp., Proteaceae) cultivars 'Fire and Brimstone', 'Olympic Flame' and 'Wirrimbirra White'. 2007. Scientia Horticulturae 112:427-433.
- McConchie R., McDonald, K. Anowarul B. and Morris S.C. 2007. Systemic Acquired Resistance as a Strategy for Disease Management in Rockmelon (Cucumis melo Var. Reticulatus). Acta Horticulturae 731:205-210.
- Wei, S., Maczkowiack, R. and McConchie, R. 2007. Assessing potential benefits of technologies: Benefits of improving postharvest quality technologies in the Australian rockmelon industry. Acta Horticulturae 731:395-412.
- Bokshi. A.I., Morris, S.C., McDonald, K., and McConchie, R.M. 2007. Environmentally Safe Control of Postharvest Diseases of Melons by Integrating Heat Treatment, Safe Chemicals and Systemic Acquired Resistance. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science 35:179-186.
- Bokshi, A.I., Morris, S.C., McConchie, R. and Deverall, B.J. 2006. Pre-harvest application of INA, BABA or BTH to control post-harvest storage diseases of melons by inducing systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 81 (4):700-706.