University of Innsbruck, Institute of Microbiology

The Institute of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck was founded in 1972, and today employs more than 50 people, most of them scientific staff. It has a long tradition in environmental microbiology in general and in soil microbiology in particular. It covers three major research areas, Mycology, Soil Microbiology and Ecophysiology as well as Microbial Resource Management. Recycling of biomass ashes has become a research focus during the past 10 years and it may be stated that the Institute of Microbiology is among the leaders in the field. The Institute is involved in numerous national and international co-operations and around 60 scientific papers are published every year.

Role in the project

UIBK will take care of all aspects related to biological analyses of the ashes produced within the project and in particular of its microbiological properties. This relates to toxicity issues and effects on soils and plants. In greenhouse experiments nutritive as well as inhibitory effects on the soil microbiota and plant shoots and roots will be tested, including the effects on the soil microbiome. Possible treatment or pre-treatment strategies will also be investigated, for example the suitability for the preparation of ash-based composts to be used as fertilizer and/or soil conditioner. Also, the legal issues concerning the return of ashes to agricultural, forestall, and horticultural land will be addressed at a European level.