Sally Otto


Sally Otto
PhD Student

Department of Environmental Microbiology
Working Group Bioavailability
Helmholtz-Centre for
Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone +49 341 235-1374

Sally Otto

CV / Scientific Career

since 11/2011

PhD student
Subject: "How Fungi Networks influence Transport and Degradation of Toxic Pollutants in Soil"
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Hauke Harms, Dr. Lukas Y. Wick

2009 - 2011

Master of Biology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Dept. of Environmental Microbiology

2006 - 2009

Bachelor of Biology
University of Leipzig - Department of Plant Physiology

Research interests

Hazardous chemicals – such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – are widely distributed and relocated in the environment. The impact of pollutants activities on the environment is complex and affects a chain of interconnecting ecosystems.

The bioremediation of soil-bound contaminants depends on the catabolic machinery of xenobiotic-degrading bacteria and the bioavailability of the contaminants. However, the patchy distribution of contaminants in heterogeneous soil systems has a negative impact on their bioavailability and hence  impedes the accessibility for degrading bacteria. Recent results from experimental and simulation models showed that the collaboration of bacteria with fungal networks improve the bacterial breakdown of pollutants in soil. On the one hand, fungal networks can act as dispersal network of bacteria (fungal highways) and then again fungal network could be responsible for the translocation-processes of hydrophobic organic contaminants. 

My interests involve the investigation of the bacterial degradation performances and I am focussing on the question how the mycelia-based transport phenomena affects the resilience of biodegradation in soil under changing environmental conditions.


Chemicals and Active Transport (CAT) 
Laufzeit 2011 - 2014

Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig

Contact person; Dr. Lukas Y. Wick,