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Nanoscale processes in soils: The role of mycorrhizal fungi in aggregation and phosphorus acquisition

Objective

Healthy soils containing sufficient mineral nutrition for plants are the basis for our natural ecosystems and food production. Nevertheless, a great proportion of our European soils are subjected to erosion and are infertile. For a better management, we need to better understand the mechanistic processes happening in soils at a nanoscale. Symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important for both soil aggregate built-up via their extensive hyphal network and protein production; and supply their host plants with nutrients, especially phosphorus (P). I will study the dynamics of soil aggregation with a rare earth element labelling approach, and the protein structure of AMF derived soil macroaggregates with the help of synchrotron radiation based microscopy. AMF produce a protein called glomalin which is highly correlated with soil stability, but we do not know the microscale role of this protein in soil aggregation yet. Concerning a sustainable P nutrition of plants, I will examine the role of AMF in acquisition of P from minerals and biochar. For this, I will apply Fourier-transformed infrared microscopy, with which I will measure removal of phosphate out of a thin surface layer on the Goethite and biochar. Concluding, I will evaluate possible consequences for soil management and soil ecosystem functioning.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/microscopy
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/ecosystems
  • /medical and health sciences/health sciences/nutrition
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/mycology
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds

Call for proposal

FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IEF
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IEF - Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)

Coordinator

FREIE UNIVERSITAET BERLIN
Address
Kaiserswerther Strasse 16-18
14195 Berlin
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 168 863,20
Administrative Contact
Michael Hune (Mr.)