As a result of the rapidly growing human population, mankind faces the enormous challenge to increase agricultural productivity. At the same time the sustainability of agricultural systems need to be improved because of negative effects of agriculture on the environment and an unsustainable use of natural resources.
In our research group we develop and optimise sustainable farming systems, particularly for organic farming, and with special focus on plant-soil interactions. Not only do we search for practical solutions for producing in an eco-friendly and resource-efficient manner; we also investigate the way in which soil ecosystems function, in order to carry on optimising sustainability and crop yields in the long term. We study mycorrhizal fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and other plant-growth-promoting soil microorganisms. In future times of nutrient shortage the importance of these microorganisms will rise considerably, since they help plants absorb nutrients efficiently from the soil.