Expertise Hans van Veen, NIOO-KNAW

Department of Terrestrial Microbial Ecology (TME) Centre for Terrestrial Ecology (CTE) Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)

The research of TME delivers basic knowledge on the ecology, diversity and evolution of below- and above-ground microorganisms, particularly those in the rhizosphere (plant root zone), mycosphere (zone surrounding fungi), and phyllosphere (plant leaf surface). Questions we aim to answer include: what effect do plant surfaces and fungal hyphae exert on the structure and activity of their associated bacterial communities and how do microbial interactivities influence the functioning of plant- and fungus-associated microbial communities with special focus on mutualistic, pathogenic and antagonistic micro-organisms? TME is also member of the Ecogenomics Consortium (, which aims to explore and unlock the sustainable life-support functions of soils through an ecogenomic approach.



  • (qRT-)PCR
  • DGGE
  • high-throughput colony picking
  • metagenomics:
    • DNA/RNA preparation from rhizo-, myco-, and phyllosphere samples
    • large-insert library construction
  • stable-isotope probing
  • functional gene annotation    


  • (training in) analysis of microarray data
  • software for in silico comparative genomics
  • medium- and high-throughput sequencing
  • metagenomic libraries for screening purposes


  • Focus on: interactivities of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) with each other and with plants
  • Research objects: microflora of the rhizo-, myco- and phyllosphere
  • Main research discipline: plant and soil microbiology

Project Topics:

  • Genomic analysis of microbial community structure
  • Functional analysis of nutrient cycling
  • Genomics potential and activity of dominantly active, non-culturable soil bacteria
  • Genomic analysis of bacterial mycoparasitism
  • Detection of plant pathogens
  • Activities of mycorrhizal fungi in soil systems