Lukas Van Zwieten

Research interests

  • Soil processes including C and N cycling
  • Contaminants in the soil environment: risks and remediation options
  • Techniques for unravelling microbial, rhizosphere and chemical processes


Soils provide the basis for healthy sustainable food and fibre production. By understanding soil processes relating to carbon and nutrient cycling, farming systems can be managed to optimise productivity and sustainability. Lukas' research focuses on soil processes including C and N cycling, and how these relate to greenhouse gas emissions; contaminants in the soil environment; and unravelling microbial, rhizosphere and soil chemical processes. His research on biochar was acclaimed in the 2007 United Nations’ World Environment Day Award “Meeting the Greenhouse Challenge,” and it has been popularised through the Australian Broadcasting Corporations Catalyst program (2007), a CNN “special report” in 2008, ABC’s Landline (2009) and Discovery Channels “Ecopolis” mini-series in 2009/10. He has published over 90 papers and book chapters and has over 5800 cites (Scholar). He is a Program Leader for the Cooperative Research Centre – High Performance Soils.

Qualifications and awards

  • 1995 - PhD The University of Sydney
  • 1990 - BScAgr (Hons) The University of Sydney
  • 2013 - current - Adjunct Professor Southern Cross Plant Science
  • 2001 - Churchill Fellow
  • 2016 - NSW Premier’s Award “Innovation in public sector science and engineering”


  • CRC-High Performance soils (Program 4)
  • GRDC DAN00180 Impact and management of herbicides on soil function
  • Rural R&D for Profit- More profit from N: Enhanced efficiency fertilised and soil mineralisable N.

Recent publications

Lukas has published over 90 scientific papers and book chapters, attracting over 5800 cites (Scholar). Nine publications are ranked in the top 1% internationally in the field of research (Web of Science), and in 2017 he published as corresponding author in Nature Climate Change.

Please refer to Dr Van Zwieten’s Google scholar page.

Contact details

Phone: (02) 6626 1126
Location: Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute