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Dr. Achim Schmalenberger


1998-2001 Research Assistant in Braunschweig (Germany); 2002-2004 Postdoc in Bayreuth (Germany); 2004-2007 Postdoc in Mancherster (UK); 2007-2010 Research Officer in Sheffield (UK).

Research Interests


My research output concentrates around the activities and process of soil microbes including microbial mobilization of soil sulphur and phosphorus mobilization of nutrients via microbial weathering, microbial bioremediation and restoration, microbial soil carbon sequestration and plant-microbe interaction. This research is often closely connected with grassland ecosystems as this is the dominating form of agriculture in Ireland.

Please see also:

Research grants

IRC - New Foundations 2013 (2014)
DAFM - SQUARE (2013-2018)
Diamond Light Source (2013)
Microbiological Society (SGM) Summer projects (2012, 2013, 2016, 2017)
FP7 People Marie Curie CIG (2011-2014)
SFI Modeling of Soil Biomass (official collaborator) (2014-2019)
DAFM -Translisteria (2014-2017)
NWE Interreg - ReNu2Farm (2018-2020)

EI H2020 Coordinator grant (2018)
ListeriaChallenge (2018-2022)
PotatoMETAbiome (2019-2022)

ReNu2Farm comprises 10 partners from higher education organisations, research institutes and industry that will work to address the global threat posed to industrial agriculture by the vast depletion of the essential macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N, P, K), without which plants cannot survive. The future of agriculture – and food supplies – necessitates nutrient recycling or composting on a global scale. The ReNu2Farm project will map regions in North-West Europe with both nutrient shortage and surplus with the aim of exchanging recycled nutrients across the regions and foster producer-consumer collaborations. Farmers' needs will be surveyed during the project and the results used to tailor and develop recycling-derived fertilisers between nutrient surplus and demand regions. The undertaking will help in establishing transnational markets, informing national and EU policy and market barrier reduction. The overall expected outcome by the end of the project will be the replacement of conventional mineral NPK fertilisers by recycling-derived fertilisers.
Together with partners at Teagasc in Johnstown Castle and IT Carlow, UL is investigating the effect of recycling derived fertilizers on the growth of pastures and the grassland microbiota and UL is in particular investigating the effect on phosphorus and nitrogen cycling microbes.
Renu2Farm is financially supported by the ERDF from Interreg North-West Europe at 2.2Mio Euro.

Former postdocs

Dr. Johann Scollard

Current postdocs
Dr. Israel Ikoyi

Former postgraduate students
Ms Jacinta Gahan
MSc Aaron Fox
Mr Oisin McManamon
MSc Jessica Graca

Current postgraduate students
Ms Lea Deinert
Ms Firinna McKenna-Beattie
Ms Jane Darcy
Mr Paul Culliney
Ms Georgia Voulgari

Teaching Interests

Module leader for:
BY4013 General Microbiology
BC4803 Microbial Technology 1
NS3201 Microbiology Immunology and Infection Control
FT4438 Food Microbiology

Contributing to modules:
BY4001 Biology 1

Other contributions:
1st year Medical students - Introduction to Microbiology

Professional Activities


  • 2016 Course directorship Biological and Chemical Sciences, LM123,
  • 2013 SGM Irish Branch,


  • 2012 Member, International Society for Microbial Ecology
  • Member; Committee member 2013-2016, Microbiological Society (Former Society for General Microbiology)
  • Member, Verein fuer Allgemeine und Angewandte Mikrobiologie (VAAM)


  • 2011 - Marie Curie Fellowship


  • Primary school outreach - Microbes in our environment see Science and Engineering Newsletter Vol05 (1) July 2012
  • Member of the UL Cell Explorer team


  • German


Book Chapter


Bacterial Mobilization of nutrients from biochar amended soils
Achim Schmalenberger and Aaron Fox
Advances in Applied Microbiology DOI: 10.1016/bs.aambs.2015.10.001


Rhizobacteria and plant sulfur supply
Kertesz, M. A., Fellows, E., Schmalenberger, A., Laskin, A. I., Sariaslani, S., Gadd, G. M.
Advances in Applied Microbiology, Vol 62


Single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) for microbial community analysis
Tebbe, Cristoph C.; Schmalenberger, Achim; Peters, Sabine; Schwieger, Frank
Environmental molecular microbiology: Protocols and applications

Conference Contribution


Host-Microbe Dialogue

Conference Publication


Society for General Microbiology, Manchester
J. Gahan, A. Schmalenberger


Goldschmidt 2013, Florence
Bonneville S, Bray A, Schmalenberger A, Morgan DJ, Brown A, Banwart S & Benning LG


Agricultural Research Forum, Teagasc, Tullamore, Ireland
A. Fox, W. Kwapinski, A. Schmalenberger


ISME - The Power of the Small
Achim Schmalenberger, Adele Duran, Maria Romero-Gonzalez, Lazar Tatic, Jonathan Bridge, Liane Benning, Steeve Bonneville, Andrew Bray, Jonathan Leake, Steven Banwart


ISME -The Power of the Small
Achim Schmalenberger, Orla O'Sullivan, Jacinta Gahan, Paul Cotter and Ronan Courtney


ISME - The Power of the Small
Jacinta Gahan, Achim Schmalenberger


Goldschmidt 2011, Prague
Schmalenberger A, Bray AW, Duran A, Leake JR, Banwart SA, Cinque G, Frogley M, Filik J, Pijanka J, Bonneville S, Benning LG, Romero-Gonzalez M


Goldschmidt 2011, Prague
Bonneville S, Morgan DJ, Bray AW, Brown A, Schmalenberger A, Banwart SA, Benning LG


Goldschmidt, Knoxville
Bray, Andrew W.,Bonnevile, Steeve,Cinque, Gianfelice,Frogley, Mark D.,Wehbe, Katia,Filik, Jacob,Duran, Adele L.,Schmalenberger, Achim,Romero-Gonzalez, Maria,Benning, Liane G.

Other Journal


Biofilms fouling ancient limestone Mayan monuments in Uxmal, Mexico: a cultivation-independent analysis
B. O. Ortega-Morales, J. A. Narváez-Zapata, A. Schmalenberger, A. Sosa-López and C. C. Tebbe

Other Publication


The role of bacteria and mycorrhiza in plant sulfur supply
Gahan, J,Schmalenberger, A
Frontiers In Plant Science DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00723

Peer Reviewed Journal


Responses of soil microbiota and nematodes to application of organic and inorganic fertilizers in grassland columns
Ikoyi I.;Egeter B.;Chaves C.;Ahmed M.;Fowler A.;Schmalenberger A.
Biology And Fertility Of Soils DOI: 10.1007/s00374-020-01440-5


Microbial community structure and function respond more strongly to temporal progression than to the application of slurry in an Irish grassland
Aaron Fox, Israel Ikoyi, Rachel Creamer, Gary Lanigan, Achim Schmalenberger
Applied Soil Ecology


A 3-year multi-food study of the presence and persistence of Listeria monocytogenes in 54 small food businesses in Ireland
Leong, D,NicAogain, K,Luque-Sastre, L,McManamon, O,Hunt, K,Alvarez-Ordonez, A,Scollard, J,Schmalenberger, A,Fanning, S,O'Byrne, C,Jordan, K
International Journal Of Food Microbiology DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2017.02.015


Oxalate secretion by ectomycorrhizal Paxillus involutus is mineral-specific and controls calcium weathering from minerals
A. Schmalenberger, A. L. Duran, A. W. Bray, J. Bridge, S. Bonneville, L. G. Benning, M. E. Romero-Gonzalez, J. R. Leake & S. A. Banwart
Scientific Reports DOI: DOI: 10.1038/srep12187


Degradation of benzo[a]pyrene by bacterial isolates from human skin.
Sowada J, Schmalenberger A, Ebner I, Luch A, Tralau T
FEMS microbiology ecology DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12276


The role of bacteria and mycorrhiza in plant sulfur supply
Gahan, J; Schmalenberger, A
Frontiers In Plant Science DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00723


Bacterial Communities Established in Bauxite Residues with Different Restoration Histories
Schmalenberger, A,O'Sullivan, O,Gahan, J,Cotter, PD,Courtney, R
Environmental Science & Technology DOI: 10.1021/es401124w


Characterization of main sulfur source of wood-degrading basidiomycetes by S K-edge X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES)
Schmalenberger, A; Pritzkow, W; Ojeda, JJ; Noll, M
International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation DOI: 10.1016/j.ibiod.2011.08.013


Tree-mycorrhiza symbiosis accelerate mineral weathering: Evidences from nanometer-scale elemental fluxes at the hypha-mineral interface
Bonneville, Steeve,Morgan, Daniel J.,Schmalenberger, Achim,Bray, Andrew,Brown, Andrew,Banwart, Steven A.,Benning, Liane G.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.08.041


Study of a depth filter (Disruptor (TM)) for the novel application of reducing SWRO membrane fouling
El-Azizi, Ibrahim M., Schmalenberger, A, Komlenic, R, Edyvean, Robert G. J.
Desalination And Water Treatment DOI: 10.5004/dwt.2011.1281


Fungi on the rocks!
Bonneville, S.,Morgan, D.,Bray, A. W.,Brown, A.,Duran, A.,Schmalenberger, A.,Benning, L. G.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta


Constraining global-scale weathering models through nano-scale ectomycorrhiza-mineral interactions
Bridge, J. W., Bonneville, S., Saccone, L., Schmalenberger, A., Duran, A., Andrews, M., Hardy, K., Taylor, L., Beerling, D., Benning, L., Leake, J., McMaster, T., Banwart, S. A.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta


Oxalic acid release in ectomycorrhiza mineral weathering
Schmalenberger, A., Duran, A. L., Romero-Gonzales, M. E., Leake, J. R., Banwart, S. A.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta


Quantifying chemical weathering at the biotite-mycorrhiza interface
Bonneville, S., Morgan, D., Brown, A., Smits, M., Duran, A., Schmalenberger, A., Leake, J. R., Banwart, S., Brydson, R., Benning, L. G.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta


Mineralogy controls oxalic acid release in mycorrhiza weathering
Schmalenberger, A., Duran, A. L., Leake, J. R., Romero-Gonzales, M. E., Banwart, S. A.
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta


Sulfonate desulfurization in Rhodococcus from wheat rhizosphere communities
Schmalenberger, A., Hodge, S., Hawkesford, M. J., Kertesz, M. A.
Fems Microbiology Ecology


The role of Variovorax and other Comamonadaceae in sulfur transformations by microbial wheat rhizosphere communities exposed to different sulfur fertilization regimes
Schmalenberger, A., Hodge, S., Bryant, A., Hawkesford, M. J., Singh, B. K., Kertesz, M. A.
Environmental Microbiology


Two-dimensional single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) of 16S rRNA gene fragments reveals highly dissimilar bacterial communities in an acidic fen
Schmalenberger, Achim,Tebbe, Christoph C.,Kertesz, Michael A.,Drake, Harold L.,Kuesel, Kirsten
European Journal Of Soil Biology


Desulfurization of aromatic sulfonates by rhizosphere bacteria: high diversity of the asfA gene
Schmalenberger, A., Kertesz, M. A.
Environmental Microbiology


High unique diversity of sulfate-reducing prokaryotes characterized in a depth gradient in an acidic fen
Schmalenberger, Achim,Drake, Harold L.,Kuesel, Kirsten
Environmental Microbiology


Biofilm community structure in Uxmal Mayan monuments
Ortega-Morales, B. O.,Narvaez-Zapata, J. A.,Schmalenberger, A.,Sosa-Lopez, A.,Tebbe, C. C.
International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation