We want to learn which groups of soil microorganisms are responsible for particular biogeochemical processes and to understand the reason why. For this purpose we investigate biogeochemical processes involved in the exchange of climatically relevant trace gases (CH4, N2O, H2) between soil and atmosphere. A particular focus is on processes in flooded rice fields, which we have used during the last twenty five years as a model system for studying biogeochemistry and ecology of soil microbes.
Regine Kahmann was director of the Department of Organismic Interactions between 2000 and 2019. Between April 2019 and June 2020 she served as acting head of the department and has since emeritus status. Her work was dedicated to the question how fungi colonize plants and cause disease. Her group has developed the biotrophic fungus Ustilago maydis as a model to obtain molecular insights into how this fungus suppresses host immune responses and modulates plant processes to benefit the pathogen. Since the 2006 publication of the U. maydis genome sequence and detecting clustered genes encoding novel secreted protein effectors, her group has focused on the challenging functional analysis of such novel effectors and how a subset of them are taken up by cells of the host plant.
Biochemistry, physiology and ecology of anaerobic bacteria and archaea with a focus on the enzymes and coenzymes involved in the energy metabolism of Clostridia, of sulfate-reducing bacteria and archaea, of methanogenic and methanotrophic archaea, and of aerobic methanotrophic bacteria.