Projects

Here you can read about all the projects that we are currently working on. 

Understanding the microscale processes for locking excess atmospheric carbon away in soils

November 19, 2018

World’s soils contain more carbon than atmosphere and biosphere combined. Learning to control the processes in soil responsible for 'locking carbon away' for long-term storage has thus potential to counterbalance the excessive CO2 emissions and mitigate effects of the global climate change. Soil aggregate formation has been recognized to play a major role in physical soil carbon stabilization, but the responsible processes are not well understood. Thus, the aim of my postdoc project is to study dynamic processes of soil aggregation at micro- to nano-scale by means of different spectroscopic techniques including synchrotron radiation based X-ray microspectroscopy at large national research centers such as MAX IV or Canadian Light Source. The major interest is to study the role of microorganisms or, more specifically, microbial necromass and fungal exudates, to the aggregate formation. For higher control of the processes we perform experiments within microfluidic chips - micro-spatially designed growth habitats for soil microbes, in which we manipulate physical structure and chemical availability of nutrients at micrometer scale. Ultimately, uncovering the mechanisms of physical carbon stabilization will be crucial for identification of soil cultivation techniques which foster this process, and to be able to increase the carbon sink potential of our soils by convincing agriculture and forestry policy makers.

People: Milda Pucetaite, Pelle Ohlsson, Edith Hammer

How do processes at the micrometer level influence the fate of carbon in soils?

November 21, 2017

Soil stores twice as much carbon than the atmosphere. This is attributted to its unique characteristics of which soil architecture plays a crutial role. The soil architecture is the arrangement of soil mineral particles, remains of plant material, and microbial material that together form a complex array which allows for an infinite amount of processes in its interior. If this structure is disrupted due to direct and indirect human activities, the carbon stored in the soil would be released to the atmosphere, enhancing climate change. Despite its importance, little is know about the influence of soil architecture on carbon storage.  My project consists in revealing the main patterns in soil architecture that contribute to carbon storage using microfluidics. We are using the SoilChip for simulating processes that occur inside soil aggregates to learn how processes at the micrometer level can influence the fate of carbon in the soil.

People: Carlos Arellano, Pelle Ohlsson, Edith Hammer

Soil Chips and microbial communities in natural soils

November 21, 2017

Understanding the composition of soil microbial communities and their interactions is essential to know their influence on soil structure and particle aggregation. Therefore, we use an artificial system (a chip with diverse shape of channels) which is placed below ground with the objective of visualizing and analyzing the behaviour of soil microorganisms.

People: Micaela Malfa Endara, Kristin Aleklett, Pelle Ohlsson, Edith Hammer

The Obstacle chip

February 05, 2017

This project and chip design is focused on figuring out the limits and extents of fungal behaviours in chip systems. Obstructions, different channel angles and widhts are used to challenge the fungi and document fungal foraging behaviour at a micrometre scale. 

People: Kristin Aleklett, Pelle Ohlsson, Edith Hammer

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