Aleksandra Pienkowska


Aleksandra Pienkowska
PhD Student

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



since Feb. 2021

Ph.D. student

Department of Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ Leipzig

Project title: Wheat production in the future.

2018 - 2021

M.Sc. in Applied & Environmental Geoscience

Faculty of Science, University of Tübingen

Thesis: Microbially-mediated processes leading to arsenic (im)mobilization in the Van Phuc (Vietnam) aquifer.

2014 - 2018

B.Sc. in Geology

College of the Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Warsaw

Thesis: Rare earth elements in selected sedimentary rocks.

2014 - 2017

B.Sc. in Biotechnology

College of the Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Warsaw

Thesis: Bacterial processes of rare earth elements redistribution in the underground mining environment of the Legnica-Głogów Cuprum District.

Ph.D. project

Wheat is one of the most important crops for global food security and a significant economic sector for the world's leading wheat producers, such as the European Union. One of the biggest threats to its production in the future will be a changing climate and increasing levels of pollutants, such as heavy metals, in agricultural soils. While there are reports on the individual effects of these two factors on the quantity and quality of wheat yields, it is still largely unknown if and how their combination will affect wheat productivity. Within my Ph.D. project, I want to determine threats to wheat production from climate change and metal pollution, and investigate what agricultural practices are most beneficial to minimize potential losses. For this purpose, I grow wheat under different climate, soil contamination and farming practice scenarios. In addition to determining wheat performance, I study microbial and geochemical patterns in the soil to indicate driving processes for metal distribution.


Pienkowska, A., Glodowska, M., Mansor, M., Buchner, D., Straub, D., Kleindienst, S., & Kappler, A. (2021). Isotopic Labeling Reveals Microbial Methane Oxidation Coupled to Fe (III) Mineral Reduction in Sediments from an As-Contaminated Aquifer. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 8(9), 832-837.