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Soil physics and chemistry

Blichers Allé
Postbox 50
DK-8830 Tjele

Senior scientist:  Lars Juhl Munkholm
tel: +45 89991768


Soil Physics
Under this topic we conduct research on a wide range of structural and hydrological factors and processes of soils and their interaction with plant production and the wider environment. Specifically, we investigate soil structure and compaction in different cropping systems as a function of organic matter turnover, tillage and traffic on the soil. We look at how friability and porosity of soils interacts with biological parameters in different cropping systems. Also, we investigate heterogeneous surface transport processes: surface runoff, soil erosion, and soil tillage erosion and their long-term effect on soil fertility. Another focus is on water flow and the transport of soluble and colloid-bound compounds through the root zone. For example, we study the leaching of nitrate, phosphorus and organic pollutants in heterogeneous soils and in soils receiving animal manures and sewage sludges.
Soil Chemistry and Plant Nutrition
This field of activity is closely integrated with the field of soil physics. We investigate the availability, turnover and losses of plant nutrients in the agro-ecosystem to optimise plant nutrition and to reduce nutrient losses. We focus especially on the extent and the consequences of phosphorus accumulation in areas of intensive livestock farming and work towards developing tools for predicting critical source areas for phosphorus loss. Similarly, the consequences of restoring wetlands on former agricultural land for phosphorus and iron losses are studied. With a strong drive towards organic farming in Denmark, we investigate also the possibilities to ensure adequate plant nutrition in organic farming systems, specifically potassium and phosphorus. Another objective of the group is to develop integrated, cost-effective methods for assessing the nutrient status of soils.
Fungal Ecology
The group works with biological research as well - especially in areas connected to soil physics and chemistry. We investigate the effects of fungi and other microorganisms on soil quality and structure in organic and conventional farming systems especially with regard to the effects of fungi on aggregate formation and the effects of tillage on the physical habitat of soil organisms. Further we study the potential of fungi as biodegradators of PAHs, and the ecology of mycotoxin producing fungi.