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Microbial mechanisms of the weathering, transformation and decomposition of organic compounds at the organic-mineral interface
Institution: MPI Biogeochemistry
Biogeochemical Processes
Hans-Knoell-Str. 10
07754 Jena
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Telephone: +49 (0)3641/576150

Julia Baumert

Weathering of kerogen, tar and black carbon which are present in black shale is not sufficiently understood yet this project aims to understand the microbiological decomposition of carbonaceous material and its reaction within soil. Especially the role of microorganisms and the contribution of different microbial groups to this process need to be studied thoroughly. biomass biomass derived biochar
To obtain carbonaceous material with well-defined chemical characteristics biochar is synthesized hydrothermally as a model substance. In this process wet organic material is converted to char at moderate temperatures (~200°C). By modifying the process conditions of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) a variety of biochars with different qualities are produced. The chemical and morphological properties are examined by various techniques, e.g. elemental analyses, NMR, FT-IR, SEM.
A pot experiment was designed to study different chars in soils on laboratory scale. Temporal changes of specific soil properties, soil carbon as well as nutrient contents which are caused by the additions will be investigated. An artificially created isotopic label of the biochars gives the opportunity to trace the pathways taken, as a new C substrate enters the system. Quantification of gaseous carbon loss, changes of the carbon pool within the soil and turnover rates will be studied. Changes of microbial biomass as well as variations of the composition of the microbial community will be identified by using phospholipid fatty analysis. Surface alteration of the materials will be investigated after the incubation where surface modifications will be determined and possible mechanisms are to be inferred.

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