Wageningen University & Research

Research challenges – Despite the recognition of the positive effect of EPS on soil structure and decades of research on the industrial potential of EPS (e.g. as bio lubricants, thickener and preservatives), the use of EPS-based products in agriculture as soil improver is still very limited. In addition, our knowledge on EPS composition, structure and function, is far from complete. Gaining understanding of the role of EPS in determining soil structure and aggregate stability and elucidation of the mechanisms that regulate the biosynthesis of EPS in soils, could enable the use of EPS-based solution in agriculture to improve soil structure and prevent soil degradation.

Objectives and methodology – The PhD project aims to elucidate the effect of different types of soil amendments (complex as well as more readily biodegradable substrates), and of varying carbon to nitrogen ratio’s on the development of microbial communities in the soil, particularly on EPS producing and degrading microbes. The ultimate goals of the project is to develop nature-based solutions to increase soil structure and resilience to drought. To reach this goal we will identify key microbial groups responsible in soils for EPS production. We will test abiotic conditions (i.e. C:N ratio, nutrient availability) that may trigger EPS formation and thus influence soil properties.

To apply for this job please visit www.connexys.nl.