Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 289949
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Denmark

Final Report Summary - TRAINBIODIVERSE (Training for functional soil microorganism biodiversity)

TRAINBIODIVERSE FP7 ITN has trained 19 young scientists to monitor, evaluate and improve the quality of biodiversity in soils underpinning European agriculture. In the project 9 European universities, 5 private partners and one not for profit organization from 10 different countries have contributed their expertise in state-of-the-art technology to interpret the links between soil biodiversity and soil function. Analyses of the economic value of the ecosystem services provided by soil biodiversity has shown how soil ecosystems are essential for agricultural management and biotechnology. The research has provided critical information for political, administrative and regulative bodies to enhance policy making for European ecosystem services and agricultural production. Under the lead of Professor Søren Sørensen at the University of Copenhagen standardised methods for validation high throughput analyse of soil microorganism biodiversity have been developed to the establish a network of expertise. The network has implemented molecular tools for evaluation of soil microorganism biodiversity from sites throughout Europe and integrated knowledge centres and European research institutions. The work has provided methods that can be used to determine the value of ecosystem services. European biodiversity stakeholders are invited to contact the coordinating partner using the details provided below.

Bioindicators have been developed through state of the art approaches to indicate soil quality. Interactions between bacteria and fungi and the molecules that they produce were shown to have an influence on how soils can support growth and provide useful ecosystem services. The technology derived provides a suite of protocols that can be used as a “biodiversity toolbox” to show soil microbial quality. This has also led to a “resilience concept” that tells how important the individual microorganisms are as bioindicators. The work enabled evaluation of external perturbation on ecosystem biodiversity.

DNA (metagenomic) data from the entire microbial community has been compared with gene expression (metatranscriptome & proteome) to show the activity and function of the microbes in the soil. The data can be used to evaluate soil quality. Even though microbes are by definition small Trainbiodiverse has shown how relevant evaluations are at different scales (μm – m scale) allowing appropriate remediation measures for both small and large sites. Examples of how abiotic (i.e. metal contamination) factors influence soil function and biodiversity have also been identified. Comparative analysis the metatranscriptome, proteome and metagenome together allow identification of biomarkers that show what function different soils have all over the globe.

Establishment of the link between soil biodiversity and the economic impact of supported ecosystem services is a critical milestone in EU policy administration. Here a dynamic panel data model has been devised which includes data from both Europe and Africa. This data set can be used to secure farm crop production and encourage development and adaption by farmers or contribute for policymaking for future development of land resources.

Protocols have been devised for applying methods that assess inter-relationships between biodiversity levels in soil ecosystems to the changes that are induced when such ecosystems are disturbed or contaminated. These methods can be used for evaluating, validating and comparing methods and bioindicators, providing samples and metadata (and correlations), and assessing the impact of perturbations on biodiversity and the economic contributions it provides.

Biodiversity has recently gained political momentum. Today, more than ever, there is a worldwide consensus on the relevance of biodiversity to environmental quality and its importance for societal welfare. The Trainbiodiverse ITN has emphasised the development of a hybrid ecosystem-based valuation protocol with integrated economic valuation methodologies, including the areas of science and economics foundations for valuing soil biodiversity and ecosystem services, and provided users with policy suggestions regarding optimal management solutions to the problems at stake.

The Trainbiodiverse ITN has provided close collaboration between natural scientists and economists and social scientists in order to: (1) improve the end-users’ understanding of the status of endangered soil biodiversity and drivers of the changes; (2) enhance the European public awareness of the possible welfare impacts caused by biodiversity loss; (3) address the potential achievements of economic instruments to conserve biodiversity and land management; (4) contribute to a more cost-effective decision support mechanism to the management of soil biodiversity and relevant ecosystems in Europe.

The Trainbiodiverse ITN has produced significant data about the relationship between soil biodiversity and ecosystem function as well as the socio-economic consequences of changes in biodiversity under anthropogenic pressure. The scientific outputs delivered by the project must be used by planners and policy makers throughout Europe. This provides additional cost effective tools to enable the development, of soil management strategies and policies with a reasonable price tag and discernible benefit capable of improving on the practicability of best-available scientific knowledge in daily decision making for resource management. The proposed project presents a major achievement contributing to the mainstreaming of land-use management and biodiversity conservation on the broader policy making framework.

The information collected has been presented in international scientific conferences, scientific and economic press, reports, meetings and electronic media. It is necessary to provide results to a wider set of stakeholders to ensure that benefits for contaminated site restoration and for other impacted lands are suitably exploited. The project results must now be made available for provision of evolved policy to ensure the quality of reclaimed land in order to ensure compatibility agricultural and residential uses or for differently affected soils such as by fallout of industrial areas or other stress. The significant knowledge created in Trainbiodiverse on how to increase biodiversity through action on operationally feasible variables can then be used to reduce the risk associated ecosystem service exploitation.

Trainbiodiverse has contributed to secure the future of European ecosystem services and agricultural production and therefore, the wellbeing of human populations and the continued availability of sustainable recourses that are underpinned by soil microbiology.

Trainbiodiverse is coordinated by Professor Søren Sørensen at the Section of Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr.s Zhuofei Xu, Samuel Jehan Auguste Jacquiod, Anne Schoeler, Sara Gallego and Salvador Lladó Fernández received postdoctoral training and in collaboration with Søren Sørensen, J. D.van Elsas, Paulo Nannipieri, Michael Schloter, Anne Winding, Salvatore Di Falco, Timothy M. Vogel, Petr Baldrain, José Paulo Filipe Afonso de Sousa, Stefano Danini, Martin Popisek, Christian Hertweck and Rainer Borriss aided in the doctoral supervision of Inês Nunes, Claudia de la Cruz, Stephanie Jurburg, Irshad Ul Haq, Maria de Vries, Jean-Sébastien Beaulne, Laura Sanguino Casado, Barbara Doreen Bahnmann, Shamina Imran Pathan, Divyashri Baraniya, João Raimundo, Valentina Imparato, Susana Santos and Elisavet Zoupanidou. Research was conducted on methods used in the basic science of soil biodiversity identification, characterisation, and development of reliable soil function bioindicators.

Contact regarding the Trainbiodiverse ITN can be made through personal communication at the Section of Microbiology, Universitetsparken 15, bygning 1, on telephone (+45) 5182701, through the department of biology at University of Copenhagen on (+45) 3532 3710 or directly through the website at


Ivan Kristoffersen, (Head of Department)
Tel.: +45 35322626
Fax: +45 35322040
Record Number: 188002 / Last updated on: 2016-08-18