Doctor Hongwei Liu

Dr Hongwei LiuDr Hongwei (Jason) Liu has over 7 years' progressive experience in Microbiology and Microbial Ecology research, in particular in functional profiling of plant and soil microbiomes. He was awarded PhD degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland in 2017 under the supervision of Professor Peer Schenk, Dr Paul G. Dennis and Dr Lilia C. Carvalhais. Through extensive training during his research, he now possesses the skills in a range of culture-independent methods for plant and soil ecology, in particular next generation sequencing techniques and microbial community profiling (16S and 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing). Other methods include qPCR and qRT-PCR functional and phylogenetic marker genes, T-RLFP, and Microresp®.

Plants are associated with diverse microbial communities that influence their health and nutrition. These organisms are known collectively as the plant microbiomes and could be used to more sustainably maintain or enhance global food security. His previous research aimed to testing those factors that influence soil and plant-associated microbiomes and exploring ways to manipulate them for a more sustainable agriculture. He was among one of the most productive PhD students in Schenk's lab, and successfully finished several major projects for his PhD degree, leading to 8 published papers in 2016 and 2017. Those finished projects include (i) effects of plant signalling pathways (jasmonic acid and salicylic acid) on wheat-associated microbiomes, (ii) effects of strategic tillage on microbial properties of continuous no-till soils in eastern-Australia, (iii) how wheat-associated microbiomes correlate to crown rot disease symptom at stems, and (iv) effects of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) and salinity on soil microbial properties and soil microbiomes.

Dr Liu now is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the institute (joined in 2017). He is currently involved in a multi-disciplinary project "Supporting Healthy Bees and Healthy Crops" that is aimed to better understand and protect Australian bees. He will undertake a combined methodologies approach to reveal both, the structure and function of honey bee microbiomes during plant and soil interactions. To find more about his recent research please visit (opens in a new window).

Areas of research/teaching expertise

Bacterial endophytes; Plant and soil microbiome; Plant-Microbe interactions; Soil biology and biochemistry

Awards and recognition

  • UQ Graduate School International Travel Grant, 2015

Selected publications

Peer Reviewed

Batista BD, Wang J, Liu H, Kaur S, Macdonald CA, Qiu Z, Trivedi P, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Xiong C, Liang J, Bange M, Singh BK, (2024) 'Biotic and abiotic responses to soilborne pathogens and environmental predictors of soil health', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.189, Article no. 109246

Li J, Wang J, Liu H, Macdonald CA, Singh BK, (2023) 'Microbial inoculants with higher capacity to colonize soils improved wheat drought tolerance', Microbial Biotechnology, vol.16, no.11, pp 2131-2144

Liu H, Wang J, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Zhang H, Li J, Singh BBK, (2023) 'Crop microbiome responses to pathogen colonisation regulate the host plant defence', Plant and Soil, (in press)

Liu H, Hall MA, Brettell LE, Wang J, Halcroft M, Nacko S, Spooner-Hart R, Cook JM, Riegler M, Singh B, (2023) 'Microbial diversity in stingless bee gut is linked to host wing size and influenced by the environment', Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, vol.198, p 107909

Liu H, Zhang H, Powell J, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Wang J-T, Singh B, (2023) 'Warmer and drier ecosystems select for smaller bacterial genomes in global soils', iMeta, vol.2, no.1, e70

Singh P, Vaishnav A, Liu H, Xiong C, Singh HB, Singh BK, (2023) 'Seed biopriming for sustainable agriculture and ecosystem restoration', Microbial Biotechnology, vol.16, no.12, pp 2212-2222

Wadduwage J, Liu H, Egidi E, Singh BK, Macdonald CA, (2023) 'Effects of biostimulant application on soil biological and physicochemical properties: A field study', Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, vol.2, no.3, pp 285-300

Wen T, Xie P, Liu H, Liu T, Zhao M, Yang S, Niu G, Hale L, Singh BK, Kowalchuk GA, Shen Q, Yuan J, (2023) 'Tapping the rhizosphere metabolites for the prebiotic control of soil-borne bacterial wilt disease', Nature Communications, vol.14, art. no.4497

Yang S, Liu H, Xie P, Wen T, Shen Q, Yuan J, (2023) 'Emerging Pathways for Engineering the Rhizosphere Microbiome for Optimal Plant Health', Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol.71, no.11, pp 4441 - 4449

Li J, Wang J, Liu H, Macdonald CA, Singh BK, (2022) 'Application of microbial inoculants significantly  enhances crop productivity: A meta‐analysis of studies from 2010 to 2020',  Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, (in press)

Qiu Z, Verma JP, Liu H, Wang J, Batista BD, Kaur S, de Araujo Pereira, AP, Macdonald CA, Trivedi P, Weaver T, Conaty WC, Tissue DT, Singh BK, (2022) 'Response of the plant core microbiome to Fusarium oxysporum infection and identification of the pathobiome', Environmental Microbiology, vol.24, no.10, pp 4652 - 4669

Yan Z, Xiong C, Liu H, Singh BK, (2022) 'Sustainable agricultural practices contribute significantly to One Health', Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, (in press)

Kaur S, Egidi E, Qiu Z, Macdonald CA, Verma JP, Trivedi P, Wang J, Liu H, Singh BK, (2022) 'Synthetic community improves crop performance and alters rhizosphere microbial communities', Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment,  vol.1, no.2, pp 118-131

Liu H, Qiu Z, Ye J, Verma JP, Li J, Singh BK (2022) 'Effective colonisation by a bacterial synthetic community promotes plant growth and alters soil microbial community', Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, vol.1, no.1, pp 30-42

Chouhan GK, Verma JP, Jaiswal DK, Mukherjee A, Singh S, de Araujo Pereira AP, Liu H, Abd_Allah EF, Singh BK, (2021) 'Phytomicrobiome for promoting sustainable agriculture and food security: Opportunities, challenges, and solutions', Microbiological Research, vol.248, Article no.126763

Hall MA, Brettell LE, Liu H, Nacko S, Spooner-Hart R, Riegler M, Cook JM, (2021) 'Temporal changes in the microbiome of stingless bee foragers following colony relocation', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.97, no.1, fiaa236

Liu HW, Li JY, Carvalhais LC, Percy CD, Verma JP, Schenk PM, Singh BK, (2021) 'Evidence for the plant recruitment of beneficial microbes to suppress soil‐borne pathogens', New Phytologist, vol.229, no.5, pp 2873-2885

Eldridge DJ, Travers SK, Val J, Wang J-T, Liu H, Singh BK, Delgado-Baquerizo M, (2020) 'Grazing Regulates the Spatial Heterogeneity of Soil Microbial Communities Within Ecological Networks', Ecosystems, vol.23, no.5, pp 932-942

Liu BL, Eltanahy EE, Liu HW, Chua ET, Thomas-Hall SR, Wass TJ, Pan KH, Schenk PM, (2020) 'Growth-promoting bacteria double eicosapentaenoic acid yield in microalgae', Bioresource Technology, vol.316, Article no.123916

Liu H, Brettell LE, Qiu Z, Singh BK, (2020) 'Microbiome-Mediated Stress Resistance in Plants', Trends in Plant Science, vol.25, no.8, pp 733-743

Liu H, Brettell LE, Singh B, (2020) 'Linking the Phyllosphere Microbiome to Plant Health', Trends in Plant Science, vol.25, no.9, pp 841-844

Liu H, Macdonald CA, Cook J, Anderson IC, Singh BK, (2019) 'An Ecological Loop: Host Microbiomes across Multitrophic Interactions', Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol.34, pp 1118-1130

Qiu ZG, Egidi E, Liu HW, Kaur S, Singh BK, (2019) 'New frontiers in agriculture productivity: Optimised microbial inoculants and in situ microbiome engineering', Biotechnology Advances, vol.37, no.6, Article no.107371

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Schenk PM, Dennis PG, (2018) 'Activation of the salicylic acid signalling pathway in wheat had no significant short-term impact on the diversity of root-associated microbiomes', Pedobiologia, vol.70, pp 6-11

Dang YP, Balzer A, Crawford M, Rincon-Florez V, Liu H, Melland A, Antille D, Kodur S, Bell M, Whish J, Lai Y, Seymour N, Carvalhais LC, Schenk PM. (2017) 'Strategic tillage in conservation agricultural systems of north-eastern Australia: why, where, when and how?', Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Crawford M, Singh E, Dennis PG, Pieterse CMJ, Schenk PM, (2017) 'Inner Plant Values: Diversity, Colonization and Benefits from Endophytic Bacteria', Frontiers in Microbiology, vol.8

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2017) 'Effects of jasmonic acid signalling on the wheat microbiome differ between body sites', Scientific Reports, vol.7, p 41766

Liu H, Mirzaee H, Rincon-Florez V, Moyle RL, Carvalhais LC, Schenk PM, (2017) 'Emerging culture-independent tools to enhance our understanding for soil microbial ecology'. In book: A paradigm shift in terrestrial biogeochemistry, World Scientific.

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Crawford M, Dang YP, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2016) 'Strategic tillage increased the relative abundance of Acidobacteria but did not impact on overall soil microbial properties of a 19-year no-till Solonetz', Biology and Fertility of Soils, vol.52, no.7, pp 1021-1035

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Kazan K, Schenk PM, (2016) 'Development of marker genes for jasmonic acid signaling pathway in shoots and roots of wheat', Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol.11, no.5, e1176654

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Rincon-Florez V, Crawford M, Dang YP, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2016) 'One-time strategic tillage does not cause major impacts on soil microbial properties in a no-till Calcisol', Soil and Tillage Research, vol.158, no.5, pp 91-99

Liu H, Crawford M, Carvalhais LC, Dang YP, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2016) 'Strategic tillage on a Grey Vertosol after fifteen years of no-till management had no short-term impact on soil properties and agronomic productivity', Geoderma, vol.267, pp 146-155

Crawford M, Rincon-Florez V, Balzer A, Carvalhais LC, Dang YP, Liu H, Schenk PM, (2015) 'Changes in the soil quality attributes of continuous no-till farming systems following a strategic tillage', Soil Research, vol.53, no.3, pp 263-273

Feng G, Wu H, Li X, Lai F, Zhao G, Yang M, Liu H, (2015) 'A new, efficient and highly-regioselective approach to synthesis of 6-O-propionyl-D-glucose by using whole-cell biocatalysts', Biochemical Engineering Journal, vol.95, pp 56-61

Li X, Lu Z, Liu H, Zhao G, Wu H, Yuan K, Yu Y, (2012) 'Dependence of catalytic performance of a freeze-dried whole-cell biocatalyst of Pseudomonas fluorescens in regioselective acetylation of 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine on growth conditions', Process Biochemistry, vol.47, no.12, pp 1826-1831

Non Peer-Reviewed

Martins CSC, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Jayaramaiah RH, Wang J-T, Saez-Sandino T, Liu H, Maestre FT, Reich PB, Singh BK, (2023) 'Complementary effects of above-and belowground biodiversity on ecosystem functions across global grasslands', bioRxiv, doi:

Liu H, Hall MA, Brettell L, Halcroft M, Wang J, et al., Gut microbial diversity in stingless bees is linked to host wing size and is influenced by geography. Preprint. doi:

Qiu Z, Verma JP, Liu H, Wang J, Batista BD, et al. Response of the plant core microbiome to Fusarium oxysporum infection and identification of the pathobiome. bioRxiv. 2022. doi: