Steffen Kolb

Steffen Kolb

Akademischer Oberrat a.Z.

At Department of Ecological Microbiology until 09/2014

Institute of Landscape Biogeochemistry (ZALF)


Adam Wieczorek (Doctoral Student, UBT)

Mareen Morawe (Doctoral Student, UBT)

Pauline Chaignaud (Doctoral Student, Univ. Strasbourg, France)


Terrestrial microbiomes produce and consume atmospheric trace gases that have severe impact on climate and atmospheric chemistry. We investigate microbiomes that utilize abundant volatile trace gases (VOCs) and thereby, control fluxes of such VOCs between terrestrial ecosystems and atmosphere. We focus on microbial consumption of one-carbon gases, which represent the most abundant carbon compounds (methane, methanol) or the most abundant halogenated carbon compounds (chloromethane) in the troposphere. Organisms that metabolize one-carbon compounds are called ‘Methylotrophs’.

Our mission is to link knowledge of single organism physiology of methylotrophs with eco-system-level observations enabling the identification of environmental controls, and prediction of ecosystem responses on climate and land use changes.

Actual work combines process-level (HPLC, GC, IC) with gene marker analytics (qPCR, Trancripts, next generation sequencing) and meta-genomics and –proteomics. A central method, we use, for the identification of active organisms and metabolic pathways is stable isotope probing (SIP).



1) Environmental Controls of Methanol-Utilizing Soil Microbiomes
2) Trophic Strategies of Methylotrophs that Consume Atmospheric Trace Gases
3) Transcriptomics & Regulation of Chloromethane Metabolism in the Environment
4) Ecophysiology, Diversity & Proteomics of Cellulloclastic & Chitinoclastic Microbiomes

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