The group of soil science focusses on the general understanding of biogeochemical cycles of organic carbon, nutrients (e.g. N and P) and pollutants (e.g. plant protection products, arsenic, antimony, cadmium, uranium) in soil with a special interest in plant-soil interactions. We provide insight into driving forces and processes of soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization and element cycling in soil ranging from the molecular scale to the pedon and landscape level. Our research has global and local relevance with implications for climate change and environmental pollution.
We use a broad range of state-of-the-art techniques to analyze element cycling and SOM composition, such as chemolytic techniques and GC-MS for the analysis of major SOM compounds relevant for the soil C cycle (e.g. cutin and suberin, polysaccharides and lignin), compound specific stable isotope and radio isotope techniques, metabolic tracing by position-specific labeling approaches, and hyperspectral imaging.