Institute of

Biodiversity

Interactions between soil microorganisms and organic pollutants

Degradation kinetics of an organic pollutant in three soils varying in their contents of soil organic matter as a consequence of long term fertilization
Degradation kinetics of an organic pollutant in three soils varying in their contents of soil organic matter as a consequence of long term fertilization (© Thünen-Institut/BD)

Agricultural, industrial and other human activities result in the introduction of organic pollutants into soil. Here they may interfere with important ecological activities provided by soil microorganisms. However, in most cases there are some soil microorganisms which have the capacity to degrade such pollutants and thereby solve the problem of exposure. Utilizing cultivation-independent microbial community analyses we search of organic pollutant degrading microorganisms and analyze limitations which may cause no or only slow degradation in soil. Examples for pollutants which we have analyzed in different projects include chlorinated ethenes, phenol or 2,4-dichlorophenol.

Information on our research in context of Schwerpunktprogramm SPP1315 of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) can be found at  Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil.