Professor Mark Turner

Professor Deputy Head of School

School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability
Faculty of Science

Professor Deputy Head of School

School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability
Faculty of Science

Affiliate Professor

Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 336 57364


Mark is a Professor of food microbiology and leads a research team focused on food safety, quality, and fermentation. Since 2019, he has served as Deputy Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability at the University of Queensland (UQ). He is also the Deputy Lead of the Innovative Ingredients program at the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA), funded by the Australian Trailblazer university program scheme. After completing his PhD at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) under Prof Phil Giffard's supervision, he underwent postdoctoral training in Prof John Helmann's laboratory at Cornell University, USA (1999-2000), and at the CRC for Diagnostic Technologies, QUT (2000-01). He subsequently supported his position through a Dairy Australia Fellowship (2001-03) and an NHMRC New Investigator Grant (2004-06). In 2007, he joined UQ as an academic specialising in food microbiology.

Mark's research is currently funded by Agrifutures Australia, and he has received past funding from ARC Discovery, ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub, ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre, and ARC Linkage schemes. He has also been supported by Horticulture Innovation (HIA), Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd (DIAL), and the Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation (GGDF). His research primarily focuses on lactic acid bacteria applications, plant-based dairy alternative fermentations, precision fermentation and biocontrol food applications targeting pathogens like Campylobacter and Listeria monocytogenes. He has successfully supervised 20 PhD and MPhil students to completion and currently supervises 4 PhD students and 3 postdoctoral research fellows.

Mark contributes to teaching in food microbiology, food safety, and food biotechnology subjects at UQ. He is a Fellow of both the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM) and the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (FAIFST), and serves on the editorial boards of mBio, the Journal of Food Protection, and Food Australia. He has received the 2017 Keith Farrer Award of Merit and the 2023 President's Award from the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) for service to the food industry and the Institute. Additionally, Mark holds the position of Secretary and Affiliate Council Delegate in the Australian Association for Food Protection (AAFP), the affiliate of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

Research Interests

  • Biocontrol of pathogens and spoilage organisms on foods
    This research area involves the isolation and identification of naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria (LAB) on fresh vegetables and meat which have antagonistic activity against bacterial pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter on ready-to-eat vegetables and meats, as well as spoilage fungi of dairy foods. This work is funded by Agrifutures.
  • Fermentation of plant-based dairy alternatives
    This project involves screening plant-dervied lactic acid bacteria from our large collection (~600 isolates) for their abilities to acidify and enhance flavour and texture of plant-based substrates. These include nut-based milks. Identification and characterisation of lactic acid bacteria with potential will follow and initial steps in the development of novel fermented foods will be trialled. Techniques include acidification trials, 16s rDNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing, gene inactivation/overexpression, adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE), flavour volatile analysis (GC-MS) and texture analysis. This project is a collaboration with researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology


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Book Chapter

  • Ho, Van Thi Thuy, Dong, Anran, Lo, Raquel and Turner, Mark S. (2021). Isolation and evaluation of anti-Listeria Lactococcus lactis from vegetal sources. Listeria monocytogenes: methods and protocols. (pp. 243-257) edited by Edward M. Fox, Hélène Bierne and Beatrix Stessl. New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0982-8_19

  • Turner, Mark S., Vu, Thu Ngoc Minh, Marcellin, Esteban, Liang, Zhao-Xun and Pham, Huong Thi (2020). Osmoregulation via cyclic di-AMP signaling. Microbial cyclic di-nucleotide signaling. (pp. 177-189) edited by Shan-Ho Chou, Nicolas Guiliani, Vincent T. Lee and Ute Römling. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-33308-9_11

  • Smith, William M., Dykes, Gary A., Soomro, Aijaz H. and Turner, Mark S. (2010). Molecular mechanisms of stress resistance in Lactococcus lactis. Current Research, Technology and Education Topics in Applied Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology. (pp. 1106-1118) edited by Antonio Méndez Vilas. Badajoz, Spain: Formatex Research Center.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

Completed Supervision