RUST, Josh

Research Interests

*    Greenhouse gas production processes from soil
*    Soil functionality
*    Biochar for soil management
*    Impacts of agrochemicals and pollutants on soil function and resilience
*    Bioavailability and ecotoxicology of organic contaminants
*    Development of remediation technologies


Josh Rust is a Technical Officer for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. Josh manages technical and logistical aspects of a range of field, laboratory and glasshouse trials for the Soils North research team based at Wollongbar. Josh supervises a number of technical assistants supporting these trials and manages the commercial aspects of the team’s two soil laboratories. Josh is also involved in design, deployment and training in the use of various Greenhouse Gas Sampling devices for the DPI and collaborating organisations.


BSc, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia, 1996

Current projects

Funding bodyBrief description

Collaborative links include

Key project activities

Caring for our Country (2011-2014)

Biochar for addressing soil constraints in the Northern Rivers

Richmond    Landcare, CSIRO

Over 150 field plots established testing the benefits of a wide    range of biochars and organic amendments on soil fertility and acidity    related constraints. Industries include grazing and horticulture.

DAFF Action on the ground (2012-2016)

Legumes, mulch and biochar for increasing N-use efficiency and    reducing soil GHG emissions

RIRDC, ATTI, Southern Cross     University

Through the use of field demonstration sites, demonstrate    improved N-use efficiency through the use of biochar and mulch, and assess N    supply via legumes through inter-row cropping. Techniques include high    resolution in-field testing for soil GHGs.

DAFF Biochar project 2 (2012-2014)

Biochar field trials and in-field assessment of GHG emissions,    biochar stability and negative priming.

CSIRO, University of Tasmania, University of Sydney

A mechanistic study to determine the influence of biochar on    soil GHG emissions and soil C storage. This project utilised both field and    laboratory studies and relies heavily on the use of stable isotope    methodologies, and high resolution in-field testing for soil GHGs.l

DAFF Aotg (2013-16)

Reducing N2O emissions by N-placement at depth


Ultra high pressure application of N at depth may improve N use    efficiency and reduce soil GHG emissions. This was tested using field sites    in NSW and SA, using high frequency closed chamber sampling methodologies.

GRDC (2013-2017)

Herbicides and impacts on soil biota


Coordination of a National project addressing the potential    impacts of herbicide usage on soil function. The project is using a range of    technologies including meta analysis of existing data, field surveys, and    mechanistic studies with analysis of function by MiSeq.

DAFF Filling the Research Gap (2013-2016)

Develop a low emission N-fertiliser

University of Newcastle

Using charcoal as a physical carrier to modulate N    solubilisation into soil, we are testing impacts on N-use efficiency and soil    GHG emissions.

Recent publications

Key Journal publications

Van Zwieten L, Singh B-P, Kimber SWL, Murphy DV, MacDonald L, Rust J, Morris, S. (2014) An incubation study investigating mechanisms that impact N2O flux from soil following biochar application. Agriculture Ecosystems Environment (in press).
Van Zwieten L, Kimber SW, Morris SG, Singh BP, Grace P, Scheer C, Rust J, Downie A, Cowie A (2013) Pyrolysing poultry litter reduces N2O and CO2 flux. Science of the Total Environment. 465: 279-287.
Lin Y, Munroe P, Joseph S, Ziolkowski A, Van Zwieten L, Kimber S, Rust J (2013) Chemical and structural analysis of enhanced biochars: Thermally treated mixtures of biochar, chicken litter, clay and minerals.  Chemosphere 91: 35-40.
Quirk RG, Van Zwieten, L*, Kimber S, Downie A, Moris S and Rust J (2012) The Role of biochar in management of sugarcane. Mini-review. Sugar Tech Volume 14:4, 321-326.
Van Zwieten L., Kimber S., Morris, S., Chan, YK., Downie, A., Rust, J., Joseph, S., and Cowie, A. (2010) Effects of biochar from slow pyrolysis of papermill waste on agronomic performance and soil fertility  Plant and Soil 327: 235-246. [3.03]
Van Zwieten, L.,  Kimber, S., Morris, S., Downie, A., E. Berger, E., Rust, J., Scheer, C. (2010) Influence of biochars on flux of N2O and CO2 from Ferrosol, Special Issue: Australian Journal of Soil Research 48, 555-568 [1.3]
Van Zwieten, L.,  Kimber, S., Downie, A., Morris, Petty, S., Rust, J., Chan, K.Y. (2010)  A glasshouse study on the interaction of low mineral ash biochar with nitrogen in a sandy soil, Special Issue: Australian Journal of Soil Research 48, 569-576. [1.3]
Van Zwieten, L., Rust, J., Kingston, T., Merrington, G. and Morris, S (2004) Influence of copper fungicide residues on occurrence of earthworms in avocado orchard soils. The Science of the Total Environment 329, 29-41.

Keywords/phrase list of research interests

  • Soil function
  • Herbicides
  • Biochar
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Fertility

Contact details