Microbial production and uptake of volatile organic compounds

Main area:Ecology
Target group:Biology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics
Educational level:Masters, Bachelor
Project description:

Microbial uptake in soil of non-methane biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs, e.g. isoprene and monoterpenes), which have both warming and cooling impact on climate, is poorly understood. An ongoing research project uses experimental approaches to elucidate the capacity of arctic soils to serve as a sink (and a source) for BVOCs, the emission of which will greatly increase under climate change in the Arctic. In this project, we also attempt to determine whether bacterial oxidation of the important greenhouse gas methane (CH4) is inhibited by BVOCs in the cold arctic soils in a similar way as suggested to occur in temperate forest soils. This is highly relevant for the Arctic with considerable natural CH4 emissions from soils, including thawing permafrost. We will determine the concentrations of BVOCs in the soil environment, study mineralization using radioisotope-labeled BVOCs, and assess inhibition of CH4 oxidation by both gas measurements and analyzing active microbial communities based on quantitative transcript analysis. Laboratory work will take place at Department of Biology, Center for Permafrost (CENPERM, a center of excellence studying permafrost thaw) and at Geological Survey of Danmark and Greenland (GEUS). We can host students in smaller or larger projects depending on the interests of the student and the ongoing experiments.
Read more about the activities of the BVOC group at https://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/research/te/rinnan-lab/

Methods used:Laboratory incubations, radioisotope labelling, soil microbiology and chemistry, qPCR
Keywords:arctic, soil, volatile organic compounds, methane, climate change
Supervisor(s):  Riikka Rinnan (BIO) and Christian Albers (GEUS)