Bethany’s research in Theme 2 is at the intersection between chemical synthesis and molecular design, and soil chemistry and agrochemical development. Nitrogen is a key nutrient input into agricultural systems to maximise outputs, but its utilisation within those systems is inefficient. N-use inefficiencies, particularly from fertiliser application, lead to large losses of N pollutants into surrounding ecosystems. One method to reduce potential N pollution involves stabilising fertiliser N in soils using nitrification inhibitors. Bethany’s work aims to develop new nitrification inhibitors which perform reliably in Australian soil systems. These new inhibitor products will be assessed for activity under various conditions in a variety of soil types from across Australia, as well as for their other regulatory properties such as their toxicity and thermal stability.
Bethany is currently a PhD candidate and research assistant under the supervision of Professor Uta Wille. Prior to commencing her PhD, Bethany completed Bachelor and Master degrees (BSc, MSc(Chem)) majoring in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. During these studies she gained expertise in fundamental chemical synthesis and reactivity, utilising a gas-phase model system to explore the behaviour and degradation pathways of polyesters. Her main research interests focus on how innovative chemistry-based solutions can be best used to tackle environmental problems.