Activators of microbial enzymes for enhanced C capture and decreased pathogen populations in arable soils.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Animal and Plant Sciences


A single gram of arable soil can contain more than a billion active bacteria and archaea cells that together with fungi form the soil microbiome, which provides a diverse range of biogeochemical functions. . With diverse functions ranging from C transformations, nutrient cycling and biocontrol, the microbiome and its array of extracellular and cellular enzymes represent an underexplored source for targeted enhancement through the use of chemical activators. This project will investigate the potential for modulating microbial carbonic anhydrases (CAs) and glucose dehydrogenases (GDHs) in soil to improve carbon sequestration and biocontrol activity. CAs convert CO2 to carbonic acid and GDH converts glucose to gluconic acid. Both acids can speed up the rate of release of Ca and Mg from soil minerals and these elements react with carbonic acid to produce calcium and magnesium carbonates thus effectively sequestering CO2 in solid form, and reducing CO2 release to the atmosphere. This timely project, falling under the remits of climate change mitigation and world class underpinning bioscience, will investigate the effectiveness of enzyme activators added to arable soils to increase the activity of CAs and GDHs, the enhancement CO2 sequestration in these soils and biocontrol effects on crop health.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/T007222/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2028
2449471 Studentship BB/T007222/1 26/10/2020 25/10/2024 Derek Bell