During the biomass formation/decomposition cycle, carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important climatic gas, is either released from soils or is stabilized as humic matter in soils, thereby forming soil structure and the biogeochemical soil interface by interaction of the organic matter with the soil mineral phase.

Ingrid Kögel-Knabner’s work is dedicated to understanding the formation and properties of soil organic matter as a major component of soils (humus), and its central role in the terrestrial carbon cycle. The challenge to be coped with is the transition of methods which have been designed and developed for pure systems to extremely complex, often amorphous natural materials.

By applying a wide spectrum of sophisticated techniques (solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy, chemolytic methods with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, stable isotopes, radiocarbon dating, scanning electron microscopy SEM and transmission electron microscopy TEM, X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure XANES) the elucidation of soil organic matter structure and turnover can be brought a step forward.

Specifically NanoSIMS (secondary ion mass spectrometry at the nano scale) will help to unravel the heterogeneous composition and three-dimensional architecture of submicron-sized organo-mineral associations in soils.


full curriculum vitae here... (PDF)

short curriculum vitae

Ingrid Kögel-Knabner received her Diploma in Geoecology in 1983 and was awarded her Ph.D. in Soil Science in 1987, both at University of Bayreuth, Germany. In 1992 she qualified as a professor (Habilitation) in Soil Science (topic: "Forest soil organic matter: structure and formation") and was in the same year appointed Professor of Soil Science and Soil Ecology at the University of Bochum; since 1995 she is holding the Chair of Soil Science at the Life Sciences Centre of Technische Universität München in Freising-Weihenstephan. She was visiting scientist at the US Geological Survey/Reston and the Delft University of Technology. Prof. Kögel-Knabner is a member of various national and international academic advisory committees, and has served in the Senate and Joint Committee of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) as well as in evaluation panels of the Wissenschaftsrat. She is member of the Editorial Board of several high-impact soil science journals. Since 2011 she is Carl von Linde Senior Fellow at TUM Institute of Advanced Study.

 •  Member of Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (2001)
 •  Member of Deutsche Akademie für Technikwissenschaften acatech (2007)
 •  Member of Kommission für Ökologie, BAdW (2008)
 •  Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2013)
 •  Philippe-Duchaufour-Medal European Geosciences Union (2015)
 •  Emil-Ramann-Medal German Soil Science Society (2015)
 •  Ehrendoktorat/Doctor honoris causa Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (2015)
 •  Carl von Linde Senior Fellow at Institute of Advanced Study of
     Technische Universität München (2011)
 •  Thomson Reuters highly cited researcher (2015)

More publications are available here... (PDF)

selected publications

Eusterhues K, Rumpel C, Koegel-Knabner I (2005)
Organo-mineral associations in sandy acid forest soils: importance of specific surface area, iron oxides and micropores. European Journal of Soil Science 56, 753-763.

Kiem R, Koegel-Knabner I (2003)
Contribution of lignin and polysaccharides to the refractory carbon pool as studied in C-depleted arable soils. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 35, 101-118.

Koegel-Knabner I, Guggenberger G, Kleber M, Kandeler E, Kalbitz K, Scheu S, Eusterhues K, Leinweber P (2008)
Organo-mineral associations in temperate soils: integrating biology, mineralogy and organic matter chemistry. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 171, 61-82.

Schmidt MWI, Skjemstad JO, Gehrt E, Koegel-Knabner I (1999)
Charred organic carbon in German chernozemic soils. European Journal of Soil Science 50, 351-365.

Vogel C, Mueller CW, Höschen C, Buegger F, Heister K, Schulz S, Schloter M, Kögel-Knabner I (2014)
Submicron structures provide preferential spots for carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils. Nature Communications, 5:2947 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3947.

Schmidt MWI, Torn MS, Abiven S, Dittmar T, Guggenberger G, Janssens IA, Kleber M, Kögel-Knabner I, Lehmann J, Manning DAC, Nannipieri P, Rasse DP, Weiner S, Trumbore SE (2011)
Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property. Nature 478, 49-56.

Wiesmeier M, Spörlein P, Geuß U, Hangen E, Haug S, Reischl A, Schilling B, von Lützow M, Kögel-Knabner I (2012)
Soil organic carbon stocks in southeast Germany (Bavaria) as affected by land use, soil type and sampling depth. Global Change Biology 18, 2233-2245.

Kögel-Knabner I, Amelung W, Cao ZH, Fiedler S, Frenzel P, Jahn R, Kalbitz K, Kölbl A, Schloter M (2010)
Biogeochemistry of paddy soils. Geoderma 157, 1-14.

Von Lützow M, Kögel-Knabner I, Ekschmitt K, Matzner E, Guggenberger G, Marschner B, Flessa H (2006)
Stabilization of organic matter in temperate soils: Mechanisms and their relevance under different soil conditions – a review. European Journal of Soil Science 57, 426-445.

Bimüller C, Mueller CW, Von Lützow M, Kreyling O, Kölbl A, Haug S, Schloter M, Kögel-Knabner I (2014)
Decoupled carbon and nitrogen mineralization in soil particle size fractions of a forest topsoil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 78, 263-273.