• Our new home,

    from summer 2021

  • Global Warming:

    the threat of a permafrost Carbon – climate feedback

  • We develop and improve

    stable isotopes techniques for ecological applications

  • Plants, fungi and bacteria interact

    at the root-soil interface

  • Probing the future:

    Climate Change experiments

  • Soil is fundamental to human life

  • Tropical rainforests

    hold the key to global net primary productivity

TER News

Latest publications

Engineered yeasts and lignocellulosic biomaterials: shaping a new dimension for biorefinery and global bioeconomy

The next milestone of synthetic biology research relies on the development of customized microbes for specific industrial purposes. Metabolic pathways of an organism, for example, depict its chemical repertoire and its genetic makeup. If genes controlling such pathways can be identified, scientists can decide to enhance or rewrite them for different purposes depending on the organism and the desired metabolites. The lignocellulosic biorefinery has achieved good progress over the past few years with potential impact on global bioeconomy. This principle aims to produce different bio-based products like biochemical(s) or biofuel(s) from plant biomass under microbial actions. Meanwhile, yeasts have proven very useful for different biotechnological applications. Hence, their potentials in genetic/metabolic engineering can be fully explored for lignocellulosic biorefineries. For instance, the secretion of enzymes above the natural limit (aided by genetic engineering) would speed-up the down-line processes in lignocellulosic biorefineries and the cost. Thus, the next milestone would greatly require the develop-ment of synthetic yeasts with much more efficient metabolic capacities to achieve basic requirements for particular biorefinery. This review gave comprehensive overview of lignocellulosic biomaterials and their importance in bioeconomy. Many researchers have demonstrated the engineering of several ligninolytic enzymes in heterologous yeast hosts. However, there are still many factors needing to be well under-stood like the secretion time, titter value, thermal stability, pH tolerance, and reactivity of the recombi-nant enzymes. Here, we give a detailed account of the potentials of engineered yeasts being discussed, as well as the constraints associated with their development and applications.

Asemoloye MD, Bello TS, Oladoye PO, Gbadamosi MR, Babarinde SO, Adebami GE, Olowe OM, Temporiti MEE, Wanek W, Marchisio MA
2023 - Bioengineered, 14: Article 2269328

Increase in fine root biomass enhances root exudation by long-term soil warming in a temperate forest

Trees can invest up to one-third of the carbon (C) fixed by photosynthesis into belowground allocation, including fine root exudation into the rhizosphere. It is still unclear how climate and soil warming affect tree root C exudation, in particular quantifying longer-term warming effects remains a challenge. In this study, using a C-free cuvette incubation method, in situ C exudation rates from tree fine roots of a mature spruce dominated temperate forest were measured in regular intervals during the 14th and 15th year of experimental soil warming (+ 4°C). In addition, a short-term temperature sensitivity experiment (up to + 10°C warming within 4 days) was conducted to determine the inherent temperature sensitivity of root exudation. Root exudation rates in the long-term warmed soil (17.9 μg C g–1 root biomass h–1) did not differ from those in untreated soil (16.2 μg C g–1 root biomass h–1). However, a clear increase (Q10 ∼5.0) during the short-term temperature sensitivity experiment suggested that fine root exudation can be affected by short-term changes in soil temperature. The absence of response in long-term warmed soils suggests a downregulation of C exudation from the individual fine roots in the warmed soils. The lack of any relationship between exudation rates and the seasonal temperature course, further suggests that plant phenology and plant C allocation dynamics have more influence on seasonal changes in fine root C exudation. Although exudation rates per g dry mass of fine roots were only marginally higher in the warmed soil, total fine root C exudation per m2 soil surface area increased by ∼30% from 0.33 to 0.43 Mg C ha–1 yr–1 because long-term soil warming has led to an increase in total fine root biomass. Mineralization of additional fine root exudates could have added to the sustained increase in soil CO2 efflux from the warmed forest soil at the experimental site.

Heinzle J, Liu X, Tian Y, Kengdo SK, Heinze B, Nirschi A, Borken W, Inselsbacher E, Wanek W, Schindlbacher A
2023 - Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 6: Article 1152142

The change in metabolic activity of a large benthic foraminifera as a function of light supply

We studied metabolic activity of the symbiont-bearing large benthic foraminifer Heterostegina depressa under different light conditions. Besides the overall photosynthetic performance of the photosymbionts estimated by means of variable fluorescence, the isotope uptake (13C and 15N) of the specimens (= holobionts) was measured. Heterostegina depressa was either incubated in darkness over a period of 15 days or exposed to an 16:8 h light:dark cycle mimicking natural light conditions. We found photosynthetic performance to be highly related to light supply. The photosymbionts, however, survived prolonged darkness and could be reactivated after 15 days of darkness. The same pattern was found in the isotope uptake of the holobionts. Based on these results, we propose that 13C-carbonate and 15N-nitrate assimilation is mainly controlled by the photosymbionts, whereas 15N-ammonium and 13C-glucose utilization is regulated by both, the symbiont and the host cells.

Lintner M, Lintner B, Schagerl M, Wanek W, Heinz P
2023 - Scientific Reports, 13: Article 8240

Lecture series

Microbial ecology of nitrogen cycling in paddy soils

Yong-Guan Zhu
Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Sciences & Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
09:00 h
Lecture Hall HS 5, UZA2 (Geocentre), Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna

How to meet the Paris 2°C target: Which are the main constraints that will need to be overcome?

Ivan Janssens
Centre of Excellence of Global Change Ecology, University of Antwerp, Belgium
12:00 h
Lecture Hall HS2 (UZA 1), Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna

Soil C dynamics –when are microbial communities in control?

Naoise Nunan
Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences IEES Paris, France
12:00 h
Lecture Hall HS2 (UZA 1), Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna