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Structure and function of N2O producing and reducing microbial communities as influenced by soil management

English title Structure and function of N2O producing and reducing microbial communities as influenced by soil management
Applicant Gattinger Andreas
Number 143137
Funding scheme NRP 68 Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource
Research institution Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL)
Institution of higher education Research Institute of Organic Agriculture - FiBL
Main discipline Pedology
Start/End 01.04.2013 - 31.07.2016
Approved amount 328'274.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Pedology
Environmental Research

Keywords (6)

Functional genes; Microbial communities; Dentrification; Soil management; Nitrous oxide; Nitrification

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Landwirtschaftlich bewirtschaftete Böden stellen eine bedeutende Quelle des stark klimawirksamen Lachgases dar. Andreas Gattinger untersucht mit seinem Team, welche Rolle im Boden lebende Mikroorganismen bei der Produktion und beim Abbau von Lachgas im Boden spielen und wie die landwirtschaftliche Bewirtschaftung diese Mikroorganismen beeinflusst.
Lay summary

Lachgas ist ein sehr klimawirksames Gas, das Mikroorganismen im Boden produzieren beziehungsweise abbauen können. Kultivierte Böden stellen damit eine bedeutende Quelle von Treibhausgasen in der Landwirtschaft dar. Um Strategien zur Verminderung der landwirtschaftlichen Treibhausgasemissionen zu entwickeln, ist es entscheidend, die Prozesse, Mechanismen und Einflussfaktoren zu verstehen, die zur Bildung und zum Abbau von Lachgas führen. Über die Rolle, die Bodenmikroorganismen dabei spielen, ist nur wenig bekannt. Das Projekt will diese Rolle unter verschiedenen landwirtschaftlichen Bewirtschaftungsformen klären.

Als Forschungsbasis dienen drei sehr gut dokumentierte Feldversuche in der Schweiz, bei denen die Lachgas-Flüsse aus dem Boden gemessen werden. Dadurch wird es möglich, den Einfluss der Bewirtschaftungssysteme («biologisch» versus «konventionell»), der Bodenbearbeitung (gepflügt versus ungepflügt) und der Behandlung mit und ohne Pflanzenkohle auf die Struktur und Funktion von Organismengemeinschaften zu untersuchen. Als Untersuchungsmethoden kommen molekularbiologische Methoden und stabile Isotopentechniken zum Einsatz.

Die Ergebnisse sprechen vor allem die Wissenschaftsgemeinde in den Disziplinen Bodenökologie, mikrobielle Ökologie und im weiteren Sinne auch Agronomie und Umweltwissenschaften an. Auch die landwirtschaftliche Praxis und Beratung sowie die politischen Entscheidungsträger werden mit detaillierten Einblicken in die Rolle von Bodenmikroorganismen bei der Lachgasfreisetzung und den Einfluss der Bodenbewirtschaftung versorgt.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les sols utilisés à des fins agricoles représentent une source importante de gaz hilarant, qui exerce une forte influence sur le climat. Avec son équipe, Andreas Gattinger étudie le rôle des micro-organismes du sol dans l’émission et la décomposition du gaz hilarant dans le sol et l’impact de l’exploitation agricole sur ces micro-organismes.
Lay summary

Les micro-organismes du sol peuvent produire et décomposer le gaz hilarant, qui exerce une forte influence sur le climat. Les surfaces cultivées représentent donc une source importante de gaz à effet de serre dans l’agriculture. Pour développer des stratégies de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre par l’agriculture, il est indispensable de comprendre les processus, mécanismes et facteurs d’influence conduisant à la formation et à la décomposition du gaz hilarant. Le rôle joué dans ce contexte par les micro-organismes du sol est mal connu. Le projet souhaite expliquer ce rôle dans les différents modes d’exploitation agricole.

Le projet repose sur trois essais de terrain réalisés en Suisse, documentés de manière approfondie, au cours desquels les flux de gaz hilarant en provenance du sol ont été mesurés. Il peut ainsi étudier l’influence des systèmes d’exploitation (« biologique » ou « conventionnel »), du mode de travail du sol (sol labouré ou non labouré) et du traitement avec ou sans charbon végétal sur la structure et la fonction des communautés d’organismes. Les méthodes d’investigation employées sont la biologie moléculaire et la technique des isotopes stables.

Les résultats de cette étude intéresseront la communauté scientifique notamment dans les domaines de l’écologie des sols, de l’écologie microbienne et, plus largement, de l’agronomie et des sciences de l’environnement. De même, les acteurs intervenant dans la pratique et la vulgarisation agricoles et les décideurs politiques y trouveront des informations détaillées concernant le rôle des micro-organismes du sol dans l’émission de gaz hilarant et l’influence de l’exploitation des sols.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Agriculturally exploited soils represent an important source of nitrous oxide that has a strong effect on the climate. Andreas Gattinger and his team are examining the role played by living micro-organisms in the soil in the production and decomposition of nitrous oxide in the soil, and how agricultural practices affect these micro-organisms.
Lay summary

Nitrous oxide is a very effective greenhouse gas, which micro-organisms can produce or decompose in the soil. Cultivated soils therefore represent a significant source of greenhouse gases in agriculture. In order to develop strategies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, it is important to understand the processes, mechanisms and factors that can lead to the formation and decomposition of nitrous oxide. Little is known about the role that soil micro-organisms play in this process. The project aim to clarify this role in various forms of agricultural management.

Three very well documented field tests in Switzerland will serve as the basis for research where nitrous oxide fluxes are measured regularly. This makes it possible to examine the influence of farming systems (“organic” and “conventional”), of soil cultivation (tilled versus untilled) and treatment with and without biochar on the structure and function of soil microbial communities. Molecular biological methods and stable isotope techniques will be employed.

The results concern first and foremost the scientific community in the disciplines of soil ecology, microbial ecology and in a broader sense agronomics and environmental sciences. Those involved in agricultural practice, agricultural advisers and political decision-makers are provided with detailed insights into the role of soil micro-organisms in releasing nitrous oxide and into the effect of soil management.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Turlings/Mascher (NFP68-Proposal) Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
Duffy/Smits (NFP68-Proposal) Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
Air Pollution/Climate Group, Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Thünen-Institut für Agrarelevante Klimaforschung, vTI, Braunschweig Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Maurhofer/Keel (NFP68-Proposal) Switzerland (Europe)
- Research Infrastructure
Mayer/Leifeld/Hund/Abiven (NFP68-Proposal) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Abteilung für Umweltgenomik, Helmholtz Zentrum München Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Ecology of Soil Microorganisms Poster Impact of farming systems on microbial denitrification and N2O reduction 01.12.2015 Prag, Czech Republic Mäder Paul; Krause Hans-Martin; Gattinger Andreas; Thonar Cecile;
Jahrestagung der deutsche Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft Talk given at a conference Impact of farming systems on microbial denitrification and N2O reduction 06.09.2015 München, Germany Thonar Cecile; Mäder Paul; Krause Hans-Martin; Gattinger Andreas;
Kolloquium des Thünen Intistuts für Agrarklimaschutz Individual talk Impact of fertilization history on N2O emission potential and mcirobial N2O production 16.02.2015 Braunschweig, Germany Krause Hans-Martin; Thonar Cecile; Mäder Paul; Gattinger Andreas;
2nd Thünen Symposium on Soil Metagenomics Poster Influence of reduced tillage on N2O emission potential and N cycling microbial populations 11.12.2013 Braunschweig, Germany Mäder Paul; Thonar Cecile; Krause Hans-Martin; Gattinger Andreas;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Infunece of soil management on N2O producing and reducing microbial communities 22.11.2013 Fribourg, Switzerland Thonar Cecile; Gattinger Andreas; Krause Hans-Martin; Mäder Paul;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
DOK - Feldtag Poster 11.06.2015 Therwil, Switzerland Gattinger Andreas; Krause Hans-Martin; Thonar Cecile; Mäder Paul;
DOK- Kolloquium Talk 11.03.2015 Reckenholz, Switzerland Thonar Cecile; Gattinger Andreas; Krause Hans-Martin; Mäder Paul;
DOK - Feldtag Talk 18.06.2014 Therwil, Switzerland Gattinger Andreas; Thonar Cecile; Krause Hans-Martin; Mäder Paul;
DOK-Kolloquium Talk 03.04.2014 Reckenholz, Switzerland Krause Hans-Martin; Gattinger Andreas; Mäder Paul; Thonar Cecile;
DOK - Feldtag Talk 26.06.2013 Therwil, Switzerland Mäder Paul; Krause Hans-Martin; Thonar Cecile; Gattinger Andreas;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Klimaworkshop Biosuisse 15.01.2014 Wülflingen, Switzerland
Klimaworkshop Biosuisse 12.12.2013 Weinfelden, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film Der DOK-Versuch – Eine internationale Forschungsplatform International German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
182390 Microbial nitrogen cycling and functional diversity of soil microbes in organic and conventional farming systems under temperate and tropical climates 01.01.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Understanding the processes and mechanisms leading to the formation and uptake of nitrous oxide (N2O) is of key interest and fundamental for developing adequate mitigation strategies, as the agricultural sector is contributing significantly to climate change by N2O emissions from cultivated soils. There is a good knowledge basis on the main processes and factors influencing N2O emission from soils, but until now, it is not clear how the complexity of farming systems and soil management influence N2O fluxes in croplands and the overall greenhouse gas balance. Since the advent of molecular tools into soil biology the vast diversity of microbial communities in agricultural soils has been described in various examples on the structural level. But on the functional level there is still a great knowledge gap especially when it comes to N2O related processes.The proposed study aims at investigating the functional role of soil microorganisms on N2O emission and uptake under different farming systems and closing the knowledge gap how microorganisms are related to the dynamics of N2O observed in the field. Three well documented field trials in Switzerland where outdoor N2O flux measurements are ongoing or about to start will serve as research platforms to investigate the impact on farming system management (organic vs. conventional), tillage (ploughing vs. ploughless) and biochar amendment (with/without biochar) on structure and function of nitrifying and denitrifying communities.In a two phase mesocosm experiment (1) soil material from the three field trials will be exposed to controlled but “near field” conditions to study the influence of soil management on N2O production from nitrification and denitrification, as well as on the N2O/(N2O + N2) ratio and the underlying microbial communities. Soil material will be adjusted to different levels of water-filled pore space to study the effects of soil management at different water regimes, likely to occur in situ. In established field trials, where N2O flux measurements and relevant concomitant investigations are ongoing a field experiment (2) will be performed to study the influence of soil management on the fate of N after system-specific fertilization events and the structure and function of nitrifying and denitrifying communities. The combination of controlled mesocosm and defined field experiments and the selection of trials with management factors relevant for sustainable soil management (organic vs. conventional; mineral vs. organic fertilisation), tillage (ploughing vs. ploughless) and biochar amendment (with/without biochar) enables to investigate the structure and function of N2O producing and reducing microbial communities within a broad spectrum of soil habitats.The outcome of this research project addresses preliminary the scientific community with its disciplines of soil ecology, microbial ecology and in the broader sense also agronomy and environmental sciences. But it will also provide the farming community and the wider public with detailed information on the driving forces for soil-derived N2O emissions and the role of soil microbial communities. It will show which impact different farming systems, tillage practices and biochar amendment have in this regard.
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