Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professor Chris Steel

Professor Chris Steel

BSc (Wales) PhD (Birmingham)

Chris Steel completed his BSc in microbiology at University College, Cardiff in the UK and then completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham (UK) in microbiology in 1986. He subsequently conducted periods of post-doctoral training at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, (UK) with the agrochemical company Dr R Maag AG in Switzerland and with the NSW Department of Agriculture in Rydalmere, Australia. A focus of his research at this time was physiological plant pathology, fungicide resistance and elucidation of the mode of actions of a range of pesticides used in agriculture. In 1995 he joined Charles Sturt University and is currently Professor of Viticulture at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre. The impact of climate and the environment on grape production have been a major focus of his research.

His teaching responsibilities cover general viticulture and oenology and supervision of post-graduate students. He has conducted numerous workshops for grape growers and wine makers in Australia and has presented his research widely around the globe in diverse countries including France, India, New Zealand, Spain, UK and the USA.

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Teaching Interests

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Research Interests

  • Management and epidemiology of bunch rot diseases of grapes
  • Identification and detection of grapevine fungal pathogens
  • Impacts of vine pathogens on wine chemistry and quality

Current Research Projects

  • 2014-2017 Determination of thresholds for bunch rot contamination of grapes and techniques to ameliorate associated fungal taints. Funded by AGWA $586,526.

Research Students

PhD Current
  • R M Sujeewa Rathnayake "Aureobasidium pullulans and potential biocontrol activity against Greeneria uvicola." 2011-2015
  • Navideh Sadoughi "Effect of ripe rot on the chemical composition and sensory properties of grapes and wine." 2012-2016
  • Nirodha Weeraratne "Investigating bacterial sheath rot complex of rice:  Diagnostics and Epidemiology." 2012-2016
  • Aruni Buddhika "Botrytis cinerea laccase as a virulence factor in grapevine pathogenesis". 2014-2017
  • Dilhani Perera "Aspergillus rot of grapes and wine quality". 2016-2019

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Professional Memberships

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Recent Publications

Samuelian, S K, L. A. Greer, S. Savocchia and C. C. Steel 2014. Application of Cabrio (a.i. pyraclostrobin) at flowering and vĂ©raison reduces the severity of bitter rot (Greeneria uvicola) and ripe rot (Colletotrichum acutatum) of grapes (Vitis vinifera L.). Australian Journal of Grape & Wine Research 20, 292 -298.

Steel, C C, Blackman, J and Schmidtke, L M 2013. Grapevine bunch rots: Impacts on wine composition and quality and possible procedures for the removal of wine faults. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 61, 5189 – 5205.

Samuelian, S K, Greer, L A, Cowan, K, Priest, M, Sutton, T B, Savocchia, S and  Steel, C C 2013 Phylogenetic relationships, pathogenicity and fungicide sensitivity of Greeneria uvicola isolates from grape (Vitis vinifera and Muscadinia rotundifolia) from Australia and North America – Plant Pathology 62,  829 – 841

Greer, L A, Harper, J D I, Savocchia, S, Samuelian, S. and Steel, C C 2011. Ripe rot of south eastern Australian wine grapes is caused by two species of Colletotrichum: C. acutatum and C. gloeosporioides with differences in infection and fungicide sensitivity. Australian Journal of Grape & Wine Research 17, 123- 128.

West, E, Cother, R C, Steel, C C and Ash, G J 2010. The Characterisation and Diversity of Bacterial Endophytes of Grapevines. Canadian Journal of Microbiology – 56, 209 – 216.

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