Claudia Breitkreuz

Contact / Address

Claudia Breitkreuz
PhD Student

Department of Soil Ecology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4 | D-06120 Halle/Saale

+49 345 558 5416

Claudia Breitkreuz

Current Project

The title of my docotoral project is “Impact of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on stress resistance of winter wheat”.
Global change is one of the major topics of our contemporary society. Climate models predict a decrease in summer precipitation and an increase in average annual temperatures. These changes in environmental conditions have severe consequences for the agricultural productivity in Germany. Taking in account existing data of the past years, yield losses were already recorded in combination with longer drought periods occurring in summer and spring months. The risks of yield loss will increase, especially in regions with soils characterized by low water retention capacities and nutrient availabilities. The negative effects on the agricultural productivity can be mitigated by so called plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. These bacteria provide a wide range of functional traits enabling them to support plants growth even under drought stress conditions. Until now, a lot of studies have been done in arid regions showing the positive effect of PGPR on agricultural productivity, but only a few studies exist for Germany.
In order to moderate the impact of climate change on agricultural systems my project addresses the microbial communities in the soils identifying important mechanisms in structural and functional diversity of the whole community and single species to increase resistance of agro-ecosystems in Germany to climate change. The main questions are how quickly and to what extent structural and/or functional adaptation of the microbial communities in the soil are going to happen and do these adaptations really reduce drought stress for wheat plants. I expect the communities to adapt to drought stress and further that these adapted communities reduce drought stress by improving nutritional supply for the plants. Furthermore, I expect that the microbial community responses differ among farming systems (conventional vs. organic), soil type (sandy soil vs. Chernozem) and wheat cultivar (drought tolerant vs. drought sensitive).

GCEF and Pot experiment Investigating the impact of soil type, wheat cultivar, drought stress and land use systems on microbial communitites under field conditions (GCEF) and in a pot experiment

Global Change Experimental Facility (GCEF)

CV / Scientific Career

since 04/2016

PhD Student at the Department of Soil Ecology, UFZ Halle, Germany
Supervised by Prof. Dr. François Buscot, PD Dr. Mika Tarkka and Dr. Thomas Reitz
Fund by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)                                  

02/2015 - 03/2016

Research Assistant in the group of Dr. Thomas Reitz, Field Experimental Soil Ecology – GCEF, UFZ Halle, Germany

10/2012 - 03/2015

Master of Science in Biology, Leipzig University, Germany
Core subject:  “Biodiversity and Evolution: Plants”

Thesis title:     “The impact of drought and plant communities on the functional diversity of the genus Pseudomonas"

10/2008 - 09/2012

Bachelor of Science in Biology, Leipzig University, Germany
Thesis title: “Vorstellung einer Methode zur Vermessung der Blattnervatur an herbarisierten Blättern”



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2023 (1)

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2022 (3)

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2021 (5)

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2020 (1)

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Conference Contributions


Breitkreuz C., Buscot F., Tarkka M., Reitz T. (2017) Impact of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) on Stress Resistance of Winter Wheat. iDiv Annual Conference, Leipzig, Germany


Breitkreuz C., Buscot F., Tarkka M., Reitz T. (2017) Impact of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) on Stress Resistance of Winter Wheat. Ecology Across Borders: Joint Annual Meeting, Ghent, Belgium