Sara Halicki

PhD Student


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Michaela Dippold


PhD project: More crop per drop for sub-Saharan Africa:  Key rhizosphere traits to overcome multiple resource limitation (Robert-Bosch project)

Modern cultivars have a high yield potential, but they are mostly very susceptible to stress situations such as water and nutrient scarcity and the potential cannot be reached. They are not suitable to be cultivated in dry and nutrient limited regions as they are often found in the sub-Saharan region. Local cultivars of sorghum and millet are adapted to the environment of the sub-Saharan region and have developed mechanisms to be more efficient in this surrounding, but they have small yields. The plant- microorganism interaction in the rhizosphere is the key target of the investigation. Through a multiple isotope labeling approach (D2O, 15N, 33P, 13C) combined with molecular marker analysis (e.g. PLFA), nutrient and water fluxes can be traced in the rhizosphere. This approach can reveal strategies of local cultivars in the rhizosphere which will ensure a sustainable crop production in future. This approach was not considered in prior breeding efforts, so, breeders will benefit from the research results and they will be able to optimize a new generation of high-yield varieties.



Research Interests:

Carbon and nutrient cycling, plant and microorganism interactions, isotope labelling, soil organic matter, rhizosphere interactions, influence of rhizodeposition on microbes and plants, sustainable food production



Since 2017       PhD at the department of Biogeochemistry of Agroecosystems at the

                          Georg-August University of Göttingen


2016-2017       Research assistant at the IfZ (Institute of Sugar Beet Research)

                          Estimation of N2O emissions from sugar beet leaf residues after harvest


2013-2016       M. Sc. in Agricultural Science at the Georg-August University of Göttingen           

                          Master thesis:

                            Microbial glucose metabolism at low temperature assessed by position-specific

                          13C labelling and compound-specific 13C analysis


2010 – 2013   B.Sc. in Agricultural Science at the Georg-August University of Göttingen

                          Bachelor thesis:                                                                           

                          Die Terra Preta als Leitbild für eine Bodenverbesserung: Ein Resümee über die

                          Einsatzmöglichkeiten und die Notwendigkeit der Nutzung von Biokohlen

                          bezogen auf die landwirtschaftliche Nutzung in Deutschland