Towards more efficient carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in European agricultural soils: Circular Agronomics program

Dr. Yaser Ostovari1, Prof. Dr. Ir. Jan Willem Van Groenigen2, Dr. Rachel Creamer2, Dr. Eleanor Hobley1, Laura Ferron2, Henk Martens2, Emily Overtuf1, Anke Neumeier1, Andreas Muskolus3, Paolo Mantovi4, Francesc Domingo Olivé5, Thomas Guggenberger6, Marek Holba7, Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner1, Dr Alix Vidal1

1TU München, Lehrstuhl für Bodenkunde, Freising, Germany, 2Wageningen University, Soil Biology Group, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 3Landwirtschaftliche Versuchsstation Berge, Berlin, Germany, 4Fondazione CRPA Studi Ricerche, Reggio Emilia,  Italy, 5IRTA Mas Badia, Agricultural Experimental Station MasBadia, La Tallada d’Emporda, Spain, 6Höhere Bundeslehr- und Forschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft Raumberg-Gumpenstein, Irdning, Austria, 7ASIO SPOL SRO, Brno, Czech Republic

It is estimated that only 20% of fertilizers annually applied in European agricultural systems are converted to finished products for human consumption. These low efficiencies result in large losses of nutrients such as Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) to the environment with severe negative influences on soils, water and air. They therefore constitute unacceptable health- and environmental costs. In addition, around 45% of soils in the European countries have less than 2% soil organic carbon (SOC) in their topsoil. Besides increasing the risk of nutrient losses, low SOC stocks are also associated with negative effects on climate change and biodiversity loss. A promising strategy to replenish SOC stocks is the transformation of waste products from the food and feed sector into organic soil amendments. The aim of the H2020 European project “Circular Agronomics” is to provide a comprehensive synthesis of practical solutions to improve the current C, N and P cycling in European agro-ecosystems. Among many other things, this project explores medium and long-term effects of new versus classical organic fertilizers in six countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Austria). The study sites will be sampled before and after applying the new organic amendments using a hydraulic corer. A full profile assessment of the C, N and P distribution, stability and bioavailability will be released up to one meter depth using a combination of classical bulk chemical analyses and state-of-the-art imaging techniques. Undisturbed soil cores will be scanned using a hyperspectral camera to reveal hotspots of C, N and P storage in the soil profile, at the micro-scale. Soil C, N and P will be modelled as a function of spectral response using a variety of machine learning approaches. These results will provide essential information to develop management strategies that increase nutrient recycling as well as SOC stocks.


Dr. Alix Vidal, born 1989 in Epernay, France

7 ISI-papers with 39 citations, h-index is 4


Professional and academic career

->since 2016 – Research Assistant (Akademischer Ratin auf Zeit), Chair of soil science, Technical University of Munich

->Sep. 2016 – Dr. in Soil science, University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), France

->2013 – 2016 – Doctoral candidate at UMR Metis, UPMC, France

->2013 – Dipl. Agricultural engineering, Ecole Supérieure d´Agriculture d´Angers, France

->2013 – Dipl. Agricultural engineering, Escola Superior de Agricultura « Luiz de Queiroz », São Paulo, Brazil

->2007-2013 – Study of agricultural engineering, France/Brazil


Research areas

->Soil biogeochemistry

->Biotic factors (litter type and earthworms) controlling soil organic matter decomposition

->Interactions between plant, soil and microorganisms in the rhizosphere

->Influence of organic amendments on soil characteristics

->Use of carbon stable isotope (13C) to trace carbon flows in soils

->Combination of classical quantitative (EA-IRMS, GC-MS, NMR spectroscopy) and spectromicroscopic (NanoSIMS) and imaging techniques (TEM, SEM)

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