yDiv doctoral researcher wins poster award in Maastricht
From 21-24 of June the Rhizosphere 4 Conference took place in Maastricht, the Netherlands. In total around 600 highly motivated people attended this international conference. yDiv doctoral researcher Katja Steinauer was one of them and participated in a poster competition and won the best poster award.
Katja won the price for her poster “Root exudate cocktails: the link between plant diversity and soil microorganisms?” that was based on the findings of her first experiment during her PhD. Plant roots are producing a diverse cocktail of chemical substances (root exudates) representing a key pool of nutrient resources for soil microorganism. It is assumed, that higher plant diversity produces more different root exudates. In her experiment, she created a plant diversity gradient, added artificial root exudate cocktails in two diversity and two nutrient enriched levels and measured the total soil microbial biomass. As hypothesized, she found an increase of soil microbial biomass with increasing root exudate diversity. Those findings provide the first experimental evidence that root exudate diversity represents a crucial link between plant diversity and soil microorganisms.