Strategische ILVO-doctoraatsbeurs: Inzicht in het belang van de bodemmicrobiologie voor bodemweerbaarheid en -veerkracht

Project Details


Main research question/goal

We investigate soil quality in terms of resilience (degree of sensitivity to stress) and resilience (resilience of a soil after stress). In doing so, we take into account important challenges for agricultural soils, such as more C-storage, limiting P-concentrations and leaching, a good soil structure, crop yield and quality. An important criterion for soil quality, besides the chemical and physical properties, is the microbiology of a soil. That is why we are going to look for biological indicators with which we can efficiently assess the soil quality. This allows us to draw up measures that enable the farmer to work on soil quality.

Research approach

ILVO has a broad dataset of soil parameters from five multi-year trials with various control measures. The link between the biological and physicochemical parameters is made and the relevant biological indicators are identified. In a next step the soil is exposed to various abiotic and biotic stress factors in pot experiments, for example drought, pollutants and residues, diseases, etc. Both the diversity (which micro-organisms are present?) and the functions (what is their role in the soil?) of the soil microbiology are examined. In this way, we can map the resilience and resilience of the soil and link them to possible biological indicators. With this knowledge we can offer indicators for assessing resilience and resilience of the soil, and propose measures for improving soil quality.


This research invests in the development of indicators and control measures that the farmer and policy can apply. A resilient and resilient soil is an added value for the farmer in terms of reliability and crop quality. These measures also address the challenges for agricultural soils, such as optimal C storage and lower P-leaching, and lead to new insights for the management of agricultural soils, which can only benefit agriculture. This also fits in with the climate change policy: storing C in the soil (climate mitigation) and making the soil more resilient (climate adaptation) are major challenges.

Effective start/end date16/09/1715/09/21

Flemish Discipline list

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Microbiomes
  • Soil ecology
  • Soil biology
  • Analysis of next-generation sequence data
  • Computational transcriptomics and epigenomics

Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

  • DMP not present


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