Toni Petronaitis

Research interests

  • Plant pathology and plant-pathogen interactions
  • Post-harvest survival of plant pathogens
  • Novel disease control methods for winter cereals
  • Development and implementation of integrated disease management strategies
  • Research extension and scientific communication


Toni joined NSW DPI (Tamworth Agricultural Institute) as a research officer in cereal pathology in 2017 after completing her BSc (Hons) at the University of New England (UNE) in 2016. Toni works within the cereal disease management team who are recognised for developing and extending successful integrated disease management strategies. These strategies support growers in limiting losses to winter cereal diseases in the Northern grains region (NSW and Qld).

Toni is currently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy (Grains Agronomy and Pathology Partnership PhD Scholarship, commenced 2019) under the supervision of Dr Steven Simpfendorfer (NSW DPI), Associate Professor David Backhouse (UNE) and Dr Graham Brodie (UniMelb). Toni’s project (BLG211) investigates the epidemiology and novel control of winter cereal pathogens in the northern grains region. Toni is specifically interested in stubble-borne pathogens which survive between cropping seasons in cereal stubble (i.e. plant residues). This makes them inherently difficult to control in conservation agriculture systems. Toni is also investigating a novel approach to controlling these pathogens in the field using microwave radiation.


  • Bachelor of Science (Hons), University of New England (2016)

Current projects

  • BLG211 and BLG304: Epidemiology and novel control of stubble-borne pathogens of winter cereals in the Northern grains region

Recent publications

Professional associations and activities

  • Member, Australasian Plant Pathology Society
  • Member, Field crop disease Communities of Practise

Fields of research

  • 0703  Crop and Pasture Protection
  • 0605  Microbiology

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Cereal plant pathology
  • Wheat and barley diseases
  • Crown rot
  • Cereal rusts (Stripe rust, leaf rust)
  • Integrated disease management

Contact details


Phone: 02 6763 1219
Location: Tamworth Agricultural Institute, Tamworth