Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert

Research for Practice

A growing world population and climate changes are creating a host of new challenges for plant nutrition research. In the future, there will be an increasing demand for crop plants and cultivation systems that are able to tolerate adverse environmental conditions, so that even less fertile soils may produce good yields. “So far, mineral nutrition problems were mainly researched under otherwise satisfactory growth conditions. In the future, however, research on plant nutrition will increasingly need to consider other limiting factors, such as water scarcity or heat stress”, said Professor Dr. Klaus Dittert, who heads the sector of Plant Nutrition and Yield Physiology at the Department of Crop Sciences at the Georg-August-University of Goettingen, a position that encompasses scientific directorship of the IAPN.

Ever since the beginning of his scientific career, research approaches with close links to the nutrition of agricultural crops in the field have been at the focus of attention. According to Professor Dr. Dittert, his personal, primary goal is to contribute to the sustainable and environmentally safe production of food, with his research.  A focal point of his work was the nutrition of crop plants with nitrogen, an aspect that will continue to play an important role in his research at the Goettingen university.

The IAPN will greatly expand the scope of the issues, crop plants and cultivation conditions.  The mutual interaction and interdependence of the various elements of agrarian and neighbouring systems will be part of this investigation. “Nourishing crop plants should be accompanied by minimal environmental impacts”, Professor Dittert explains the increasing consideration for integrated or holistic research approaches. In his opinion, one of the IAPN’s most important future fields of work will be the connection between nutrient supply and water use efficiency. “How can we encourage plants to use scarce water supplies more efficiently, and thrive with less water? Here we still lack basic physiological knowledge, which we will have to generate at the IAPN, in cooperation with our expert partners.”

Dittert views the IAPN as a forum that consciously turns to international, practice-oriented research. In the affected countries, the institute is meant to cooperate with national and international research institutions. “In order to spread and deepen the knowledge gained, it is indispensable for these institutions to have a multiplier effect in their respective countries. Ideally, scientists who have studied at the Goettingen IAPN or who have spent time conducting research there will continue to do so at home, maintaining a relationship with the IAPN. In this way, we can all learn from each other, and the IAPN will soon have a well-functioning network of peers working on applied plant nutrition research.”



Publications in refereed journals and refereed conference proceedings.


Wu, D.; Senbayram, M.; Well, R.; Brüggemann, N.; Pfeiffer, B.; Loick, N.; Stempfhuber, B.; Dittert, K. & Bol, R. (2017) Nitrification inhibitors mitigate N2O emissions more effectively under straw-induced conditions favoring denitrification. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 104, 197-207.

Avenhaus, U.; Cabeza, R.A.; Liese, R.; Sulieman, S.; Lingner, A.; Dittert, K.; Salinas-Riester, G.; Pommerenke, C. & Schulze, J. (2016) Short-term molecular acclimation processes of legume nodules to increased external oxygen concentration. Frontiers in Plant Science 6, 1133.

Gong, X.Y.; Giese, M.; Dittert, K.; Lin, S. & Taube, F. (2016) Topographic influences on shoot litter and root decomposition in semiarid hilly grasslands. Geoderma 282, 112-119.

Jákli, B.; Tränkner. M.; Senbayram, M. & Dittert, K. (2016): Adequate supply of potassium improves plant water-use efficiency but not leaf water-use efficiency of spring wheat. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 179, 733-745.

Tränkner, M.; Jakli, B.; Tavakol, E.; Geilfus, C.M.; Cakmak, I.; Dittert, K. & Senbayram, M. (2016) Magnesium deficiency decreases biomass water-use efficiency and increases leaf water-use efficiency and oxidative stress in barley plants. Plant Soil 406, 409-423.

Wiesler, F.; Hund-Rinke, K.; Gäth, S.; George, E.; Greef, J.M.; Hölzle, L.E.; Holz, F.; Hülsbergen, K.J.; Pfeil, R.; Severin, K.; Frede, H.G.; Blum, B.; Schenkel, H.; Horst, W.; Dittert, K.; Ebertseder, T.; Osterburg, B.; Philipp, W. & Pietsch, M. (2016) Use of organic fertilizers and organic wastes in agriculture. Berichte über Landwirtschaft – Zeitschrift für Agrarpolitik und Landwirtschaft 94: 1-25, doi:

Cabeza, R.A.; Liese, R.; Fischinger, S.A.; Sulieman, S.; Avenhaus, U.; Lingner, A.; Hein, H.; Koester, B.; Baumgarten, V.; Dittert, K. & Schulze, J. (2015) Long-term non-invasive and continuous measurements of legume nodule activity. Plant Journal 81, 637-648.

Gong, X.Y.; Fanselow, N.; Dittert, K.; Taube, F. & Lin, S. (2015) Response of primary production and biomass allocation to nitrogen and water supplementation along a grazing intensity gradient in semiarid grassland. Europ J Agronomy 63. Eur. J. Agron. 63, 27-35.

Köster, J.R.; Cardenas, L.; Bol, R.; Lewicka-Szczebak, D.; Senbayram, M.; Well, R.; Giesemann, A. & Dittert, K. (2015) Anaerobic digestates lower N2O emissions compared to cattle slurry by affecting rate and product stoichiometry of denitrification - an N2O isotopomer case study. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 84, 65-74.

Senbayram, M.; Tränkner, M.; Dittert, K. & Brück, H. (2015) Daytime leaf water use efficiency does not explain the relationship between plant N status and biomass water-use efficiency of tobacco under non-limiting water supply. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 178, 682-692.

Tao, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Jin, X.; Saiz, G.; Jing, R.; Guo, L.; Liu, M.; Shi, J.; Zuo, Q.; Tao, H.; Butterbach-Bahl, K.; Dittert, K. & Lin, S. (2015) More rice with less water - evaluation of yield and resource use efficiency in ground cover rice production system with transplanting. Eur. J. Agron. 68, 13-21.

Xiao, Q.Y.; De Gernier, H.; Kupcsik, L.; De Pessemier, J.; Dittert, K.; Fladung, K.; Verbruggen, N. & Hermans, C. (2015) Natural genetic variation of Arabidopsis thaliana root morphological response to magnesium supply. Crop & Pasture Science 66, 1249-1258.

Cabeza, R.; Koester, B.; Liese, R.; Lingner, A.; Baumgarten, V.; Dirks, J.; Salinas-Riester, G.; Pommerenke, C.; Dittert, K. & Schulze, J. (2014) A RNA sequencing transcriptome analysis reveals novel insights into molecular aspects of the nitrate impact on the nodule activity of Medicago truncatula. Plant Physiol., 164, 400-411.

Cabeza, R.A.; Liese, R.; Lingner, A.; von Stieglitz, I.; Neumann, J.; Salinas-Riester, G.; Pommerenke, C.; Dittert, K. & Schulze, J. (2014) RNA-seq transcriptome profiling reveals that Medicago truncatula nodules acclimate N2 fixation before emerging P deficiency reaches the nodules 3. J. Exp. Bot. 65, 6035-6048.

Cabeza, R.A.; Lingner, A.; Liese, R.; Sulieman, S.; Senbayram, M.; Tränkner, M.; Dittert, K. & Schulze, J. (2014) The Activity of Nodules of the Supernodulating Mutant Mt(sunn) Is not Limited by Photosynthesis under Optimal Growth Conditions, 5. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15, 6031-6045.

Chen, R.R.; Senbayram, M.; Blagodatsky, S.; Myachina, O.; Dittert, K.; Lin, X.G.; Blagodatskaya, E. & Kuzyakov, Y. (2014) Soil C and N availability determine the priming effect: microbial N mining and stoichiometric decomposition theories. Global Change Biology, in press.

Claus, S.; Taube, F.; Wienforth, B.; Svoboda, N.; Sieling, K.; Kage, H.; Senbayram, M.; Dittert, K.; Gericke, D.; Pacholski, A. & Herrmann, A. (2014) Life-cycle assessment of biogas production under the environmental conditions of northern Germany: greenhouse gas balance. J. Agric. Sci., in press.

Köster, J.R.; Dittert, K.; Mühling, K.H.; Kage, H. & Pacholski, A. (2014) Cold season ammonia emissions from land spreading with anaerobic digestates from biogas production. Atmospheric Environment, 84, 35-38.

Lewicka-Szczebak, D.; Well, R.; Köster, J.R.; Fuß, R.; Senbayram, M.; Dittert, K. & Flessa, H. (2014) Experimental determinations of isotopic fractionation factors associated with N2O production and reduction during denitrification. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta in press.

Schmeer, M.; Loges, R.; Dittert, K.; Senbayram, M.; Horn R. & Taube, F. (2014) Legume-based forage production systems reduce nitrous oxide emissions. 1. Soil & Tillage Research 143, 17-25.

Dittert, K.; Senbayram, M. & Köster, J.R. (2013) N-fertilizer related nitrous oxide emissions – what we know, what we can do. In XVII. International Plant Nutrition Colloquium and Boron Satellite Meeting Proceedings Book. pp. 87-88. Sabanci University, Istanbul.

Köster, J.R.; Pacholski, A.; Dittert, K.; Kage, H.; Denmead, O.T.; Griffith, D.W.T.; Chen, D. & Mühling, K.H. (2013) Cold season ammonia and methane emissions from anaerobic digestates during land spreading and storage determined by Open Path FTIR and a micrometeorological model. In XVII. International Plant Nutrition Colloquium and Boron Satellite Meeting Proceedings Book. pp. 917-918. Sabanci University, Istanbul.

Köster, J.R.; Well, R.; Dittert, K.; Giesemann, A.; Lewicka-Szczebak, D.; Mühling, K.H.; Herrmann, A.; Lammel, J. & Senbayram, M. (2013) Soil denitrification potential and ist influence on N2O reduction and N2O isotopomer ratios. Rapid Comm. Mass Spectrom., 27, 2363-2373.

Köster, J.R.; Well, R.; Tuzson, B.; Bol, R.; Dittert, K.; Giesemann, A.; Emmenegger, L.; Manninen, A.; Cárdenas, L. & Mohn, J. (2013) Novel laser spectroscopic technique for continuous analysis of N2O isotopomers - application and inter-comparison with isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Rapid Comm. Mass Spectrom., 27, 216-222.

Senbayram, M.; Tränkner, M.; Dittert, K. & Brück, H. (2013) Nitrogen supply enhances intrinsic but not biomass water use efficiency. In XVII. International Plant Nutrition Colloquium and Boron Satellite Meeting Proceedings Book. pp. 477-479. Sabanci University, Istanbul.

Chen, R.R.; Blagodatskaya, E.; Senbayram, M.; Blagodatsky, S.; Myachina, O.; Dittert, K. & Kuzyakov, Y. (2012) Decomposition of biogas residues in soil and their effects on microbial growth kinetics and enzyme activities. Biomass Bioenerg., 45, 221-229.

Senbayram, M.; Chen, R.R.; Budai, A.; Bakken, L.; & Dittert, K. (2012): N2O emission and the N2O/(N2O+N2) product ratio of denitrification as controlled by available carbon substrates and nitrate concentrations. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment., 147:4-12.

Chen, R. R.; Hu, J. L.; Dittert, K.; Wang, J. H.; Zhang, J. B. & Lin, X. G. (2011) Soil total nitrogen and natural 15N in response to long-term fertilizer management of a maize-wheat cropping system in northern China. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal., 42, 322-331.

Chen, R.R.; Senbayram, M.; Lin, X.G. & Dittert, K. (2011) Origin of positive d13C of emitted CO2 from soils after application of biogas residues. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 43, 2194-2199.

Fanselow, N.; Schönbach, P.; Gong, X.Y.; Lin, S.; Taube, F.; Loges, R.; Pan, Q. & Dittert, K. (2011) Short-term regrowth responses of four steppe grassland species to water, nitrogen, and grazing intensity in Inner Mongolia. Plant and Soil, 340, 279-289.

Gong, X.Y.; Chen, Q.; Dittert, K.; Taube, F. & Lin, S. (2011) Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium nutritional status of semiarid steppe grassland in Inner Mongolia. Plant and Soil, 340, 265-278.

Gong, X.Y.; Chen, Q.; Lin, S.; Brueck, H.; Dittert, K.; Taube, F. & Schnyder, H. (2011) Tradeoffs between nitrogen and water use efficiency in dominant species of the semiarid steppe of Inner Mongolia. Plant and Soil, 340, 227-238.

Köster, J.R.; Cárdenas, L.; Senbayram, M.; Bol, R.; Well, R.; Butler, M.; Mühling, K.H. & Dittert, K. (2011) Rapid shift from denitrification to nitrification in soil after biogas residue application as indicated by nitrous oxide isotopomers. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 43, 1671-1677.

Li, J.; Lin, S.; Taube, F.; Pan, Q. & Dittert, K. (2011) Above and belowground net primary productivity of grassland influenced by supplemental water and nitrogen in Inner Mongolia. Plant and Soil, 340, 253-264.

Liu, Y.; Pan, Q.M.; Liu, H.D.; Bai, Y.F.; Simmons, M.; Dittert, K. & Han, X.G. (2011) Plant responses following grazing removal at different stocking rates in an Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem. Plant and Soil, 340, 199-213.

Nannen, D.U.; Hermann, A.; Loges, R.; Dittert, K. & Taube, F. (2011) Recovery of mineral fertiliser N and slurry N in continuous silage maize using the 15N and difference methods. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 89, 269-280.

Wu, H.; Dannenmann, M.; Fanselow, N.; Wolf, B.; Yao, Z.; Wu, X.; Brüggemann, N.; Zhen, X.; Han, X.; Dittert, K. & Butterbach-Bahl, K. (2011) Feedback of grazing on gross rates of N mineralization and inorganic N partitioning in steppe soils of Inner Mongolia. Plant and Soil, 340, 1127-139.

Herrmann, A.; Senbayram, M. & Dittert, K. (2010) Treibhausgasemissionen aus der Landwirtschaft. Biogas Journal, 3/2010, 90-94.

Dittert, K. & Mühling, K.H. (2009) Emission of climate relevant trace gases in intensive plant production. Journal für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, 4, 207-211.

Gevrek, M.N.; Beser, N.; Dittert, K. & Tatar, Ö. (2009) Effects of plastic film mulching cultivation system on some agronomic characters of rice in relation with the increase of paddy acreage. Turkish Journal of Field Crops, 14, 15-29.

Senbayram, M.; Chen, R.R. & Dittert, K. (2009) Contribution of nitrification and denitrification to nitrous oxide emissions from soils amended with biogas waste compared to other fertilizers. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 23, 2489-2498.

Zhang, L.; Lin, S.; Bouman, B.A.M.; Xue, C.Y.; Wei, F.T.; Tao, H.B.; Yang, X.G.; Wang, H.Q.; Zhao, D.L. & Dittert, K. (2009) Response of aerobic rice growth and grain yield to N fertilizer at two contrasting sites near Beijing, China. Field Crops Res., 114, 45-53.

Chen, R.R. & Dittert, K. (2008) Diffusion technique for 15N and inorganic N analysis of low-N aqueous solutions and Kjeldahl digests. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 22, 1727-1734.

Wachendorf, C.; Lampe, C.; Taube, F. & Dittert, K. (2008) Nitrous oxide emissions and dynamics of soil nitrogen under 15N-labeled cow urine and dung patches on a sandy grassland soil. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci., 171, 171-180.

Kreye, C.; Dittert, K.; Zheng, X.H.; Zhang, X.; Lin, S.; Tao, H.B. & Sattelmacher, B. (2007) Fluxes of methane and nitrous oxide in water-saving rice production in north China. Nutrient Cyc. Agroecosyst., 77, 293-304.

Tao, H.B.; Dittert, K.; Zhang, L.M.; Lin, S.; Römheld, V. & Sattelmacher, B. (2007): Effects of soil water content on growth, tillering, and manganese uptake of lowland rice grown in the water-saving ground-cover rice-production system (GCRPS). Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 170, 7-13.

Dittert, K.; Wötzel, J. & Sattelmacher, B. (2006): Responses of Alnus glutinosa to anaerobic conditions – mechanisms and rate of oxygen flux into the roots. Plant Biology, 8, 212-223.

Lampe, C.; Dittert, K.; Sattelmacher, B.; Wachendorf, M.; Loges, R. & Taube, F. (2006) Sources and rates of nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland after application of 15N-labelled mineral fertilizer and slurry. Soil Biol. Biochem., 38, 2602-2613.

Tao, H.; Brück, H.; Dittert, K.; Kreye, C.; Lin, S. & Sattelmacher, B. (2006) Growth and yield formation of rice (Oryza sativa L.) in the water-saving ground cover rice production system (GCRPS). Field Crops Research, 95, 1-12.

Dittert, K.; Lampe, C.; Gasche, R.; Butterbach-Bahl, K.; Wachendorf, M.; Papen, H.; Sattelmacher, B. & Taube, F. (2005) Short-term effects of single or combined application of mineral N fertilizer and cattle slurry on the fluxes of radiatively active trace gases from grassland soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 37, 1665-1674.

Bol, R.; Petersen, S.; Christofides, C.; Dittert, K. & Hansen, M.N. (2004) Short-term N2O, CO2, NH3 fluxes, and N/C transfers in a Danish grass-clover pasture after simulated urine deposition in autumn. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 167, 568-576.

Lin, S.; Dittert, K. Wu, W.L. & Sattelmacher, B. (2004) Added nitrogen interaction as affected by soil nitrogen pool size and fertilisation - significance of displacement of fixed ammonium. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 167, 138-146.

Lin, S.; Sattelmacher, B.; Kutzmutz, E.; Mühling, K.H. & Dittert, K. (2004) Influence of nitrogen nutrition on tuber quality of potato with special reference to the pathway of nitrate transport into tubers. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 27, 341-350.

Xu, Y.C.; Shen, Q.R.; Li, M.L.; Dittert, K. & Sattelmacher, B. (2004) Effect of soil water status and mulching on N2O and CH4 emission from lowland rice field in China. Short communication. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 39, 215-217.

Dittert, K.; Bol, R.; King, R.; Chadwick, D. and Hatch, D (2001) Use of a novel nitrification inhibitor to reduce nitrous oxide emission from 15N-labelled dairy slurry injected into soil. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 15, 1291-1296.

Coester, M.; Dittert, K. & Sattelmacher, B. (2001) Contribution of fresh-shredded green material to the nitrogen nutrition of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) on a Black Earth Soil (Stagnic Phaeozem). Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 59, 259-267.

Dittert, K.; Goerges, T.; Bless, H.G.; Lin, S. & Sattelmacher, B. (1999) Stickstoffdynamik im Boden nach Gülledüngung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der N-Pflanzenaufnahme. Pflanzenbauwissenschaften, 3, 53-58.

Dilly, O.; Bach, H.J.; Blume, H.P.; Buscot, F.; Dittert, K.; Kappen, L.; Kutsch, W.; Middelhoff, B.; Mogge, B.; Pritsch, K.; Wötzel, J. & Munch, J.-C. (1999) Microbial processes and features of the microbiota in histosols from a Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.) forest. Geomicrobiology Journal, 16, 65-78.

Dittert, K.; Goerges, T. & Sattelmacher, B. (1998) Nitrogen turnover in soil after application of animal manure and slurry as studied by the stable isotope 15N: a review. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 161, 453-463.

Goerges, T. & Dittert, K. (1998) Improved diffusion technique for 15N:14N analysis of ammonium and nitrate from aqueous samples by stable isotope spectrometry. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal., 3 & 4, 361-368.

Bouman, B.; Barker, R.; Humphreys, E.; Tuong, T.P.; Atlin, G.; Bennett, J.; Dawe, D.; Dittert, K.; et al. (2007) Rice Feeding the Billions. In: Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. Water for Food, Water for Life: A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. Synthesis Report. Earthscan, London, and International Water Management Institute, Colombo, 515-549.

Gerendas, J. & Dittert, K. (2010) 16. Düngung von Böden In: Blume, H.P.; Horn, R.; Thiele-Bruhn, S. Handbuch des Bodenschutzes: Bodenökologie und -belastung. Vorbeugende und abwehrende Schutzmassnahmen. Wiley-VCH, 242-267.

Kappen, L.; Sattelmacher, B.; Dittert, K. & Buscot, F. (1998) Symbiosen in ökosystemarer Sicht. In: Fränzle, O.; Müller, F.; Schröder, W. (eds.) Handbuch der Umweltwissenschaften: Grundlagen und Anwendungen der Ökosystemforschung. Ecomed Verlag, Landsberg, IV-3.5, 1-28.


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