Dr. Birgit Pfeiffer

Dr. Birgit Pfeiffer was employed at the IAPN in the time from October 2015 until December 2015. She investigates the role of microbial communities and their diversity in agricultural soils in terms of an effective nutrition of plants and the emission of greenhouse gases such as N2, N2O or CH4.


Microbial soil communities are affected directly and indirectly by a complex system of interactions between biotic and abiotic factors. As an example, different plant species and their respective root properties, soil nutrient levels, their pH levels and moisture content have a large impact on the composition and activity of the microbial community living in agricultural soils. Microorganisms in return, play an important role as drivers of the nutrient cycles or in the mobilization of nutrients and thus shape their environment.


Currently Mrs. Pfeiffer explores the complex relationships of microbial activity and diversity, and the mobilization of important nutrients (N, P, K) in the rhizosphere and soil, and follows the microbial formation of climate-relevant trace gases in soil. An important objective of this work is, among other things, to develop approaches for an optimized use of nutrients.


In 2013 Ms. Pfeiffer completed her doctorates/PhD within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence "Functional Biodiversity Research" at the Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, the University of Göttingen.




Birgit Pfeiffer, Ann-Catrin Fender, Sandra Lasota, Dietrich Hertel, Hermann F. Jungkunst, Rolf Daniel: Leaf litter is the main driver for changes in bacterial community structures in the rhizosphere of ash and beech. Applied Soil Ecology 2013; 72:150-160.

Anne Kemmling, Birgit Pfeiffer, Rolf Daniel, Michael Hoppert: Bacterial diversity in biological soil crusts from extrazonal mountain dry steppes in northern Mongolia. Wissenschaftliche Beiträge der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg 2013; 12:437-449.

Simone Cesarz, Ann-Catrin Fender, Friderike Beyer, Kerttu Valtanen, Birgit Pfeiffer, Dirk Gansert, Dietrich Hertel, Andrea Polle, Rolf Daniel, Christoph Leuschner, Stefan Scheu: Roots from beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) differentially affect soil microorganisms and carbon dynamics. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 2013; 61:23-32.

Ann-Catrin Fender, Birgit Pfeiffer, Dirk Gansert, Christoph Leuschner, Rolf Daniel, Hermann F Jungkunst: The inhibiting effect of nitrate fertilisation on methane uptake of a temperate forest soil is influenced by labile carbon. Biology and Fertility of Soils 2012; 48(6):621-631.

Jana Grote, Matthias Labrenz, Birgit Pfeiffer, Günter Jost, Klaus Jürgens: Quantitative distributions of Epsilonproteobacteria and a Sulfurimonas subgroup in pelagic redoxclines of the central Baltic Sea. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2007; 73(22):7155-61.