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Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-09-01 - 2021-08-31

Root exudates are key drivers for rhizosphere spatiotemporal self-organization. Accurate information about quantity and quality of metabolites released by roots plays a central role in deciphering the complex biogeochemical processes at the plant-soil interface and their feedback loops. In the past, the majority of studies either treated exudation as a black box or studied root exudation in nutrient solution culture (i.e. hydroponic), mostly analyzing only individual exudate compounds or compound classes. Despite the operational benefit of hydroponics, the question remains how ecologically relevant exudation results obtained under hydroponic conditions are compared to soil environments and related rhizosphere processes. Here, we will apply different exudation sampling schemes to (i) uncover the spatiotemporal changes of and (ii) reveal the role of root hairs in maize (Zea mays wildtype and root hair-less mutant rht3) root exudation. Unlike studies in the past, we will focus on soil-based techniques that allow the collection root exudation rates unaltered by soil matrix interactions and microbial activity and capture the entire complexity of exudates released via advanced metabolite profiling by UHPLC-QTOF-MS. Exudation sampling will be carried out within the central platform experimental framework of the priority program 2089 in the growth chamber and field, including soil-hydroponic-hybrid approaches, rhizoboxes combined with an innovative root exudation collecting tool, as well as custom-designed exudation traps for sampling individual root segments. The traditional hydroponic-only setup will also be included as a reference to former studies. Experiments will be closely coordinated with other participants focusing on rhizosphere microbiology and plant genetics, which will enable us to link rhizosphere patterns to specific metabolite profiles released. In addition, we will conduct pioneer work revealing potential biases introduced by experimental conditions thus leading to a paradigm shift in approaches to assess root exudation rates and study exudate-driven processes in the rhizosphere. By identifying and applying ecologically meaningful root exudation sampling techniques in combination with advanced metabolomics analysis, we will elucidate ‘the missing link’ driving plant-soil-microbe interactions and rhizosphere pattern formation.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-07-01 - 2019-07-31

In this study we will examine the effect of specific ÖPUL measures in order to reduce GHG emissions. For the calculation we apply the process based model LandscapeDNDC. The main focus will be on nitrous oxides (N2O) emissions since most of total national N2O emissions origin from agricultural soils. In detail, the following questions will be considered: • How much do N2O emissions decrease when the fertilizer intensity (i.e., nitrogen supply) is reduced? Do N2O emissions decrease disproportionately with less nitrogen fertilizer? • What is the difference between N2O emissions in intensively managed, conventional and organic arable and grassland soils? • Which effects are gained by the UBB (Environment-friendly and Biodiversity-friendly farming) measures in crop rotations? This comparison of the different management measures in a few regions serves as a clarification for future research projects where the effects of Austria-wide land use and land use changes on the basis of model calculations and measurements are to be examined in terms of their climate effect.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-07-01 - 2020-03-31

The main objective of this research project is to study the natural performance and resilience of Austria's arable soils. This is of great importance because the demand for food will increase in the near future, the effects of climate change in Austria will become more noticeable and the negative impacts of agriculture have to be reduced. Above all, the aspect of resilience and the resistance of soils against external impacts is in the main focus of attention. The results of the survey will be compared with the results of the BEAT project. A further aim of this research project is to create a basic document which can be used for public activities by the BMNT. Recommendations for land use at regional and local level will be given in a concrete and clear description.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations