Research HEF Members
Insect decline more extensive than expected
Causes of insect mortality and species extinction can be found at landscape level.
Today, many areas are home to about a third fewer insect species than a decade ago. This is the result of a study by an international research team led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The loss of species mainly affects meadows that are located in a heavily used agricultural environment, but also forest and protected areas.
Several studies have already shown that there is less zirot, humming, creeping and flying on German meadows than 25 years ago. "However, previous studies have concentrated either exclusively on biomass, i.e. the total weight of all insects, or on individual species or groups of species. It was not clear until now that the majority of all insect groups were actually affected," said Dr. Sebastian Seibold, researcher at the Open External Link in the new FensterLehrstuhl für Terrestrische Ökologie at the TUM.
The study on the decline of insect populations from biodiversity exploratories has been published in Nature: www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1684-3
Dry food for superfood producers
Locusts and crickets could make an important contribution to supplying the growing world population with sufficient proteins. Now, for the first time, an international research team with significant participation from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has investigated which feeds would be suitable for environmentally friendly mass livestock farming of insects.Because insects are said to produce hardly any greenhouse gases, are frugal, nutritious and grow rapidly, a real hype has arisen about them in recent years: They are praised as the superfood of the future, as cheap protein suppliers who also use all conceivable residues."That sounds great, but it has little to do with reality," says Wilhelm Windisch, Professor of Animal Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich. "Whoever wants to keep animals professionally and on a large scale must know exactly which nutrients they need and can use. And with insects, we have to find out first.
HEF start-up funding 2019
In 2019, the Hans Eisenmann-Forum supports the following projects with start-up funding for an application: digitalBARLEY@HEF: Prof. Dr. R. Hückelhoven (Phytopathology, TUM/HEF), Prof. Dr. C. Gutjahr (Plant Genetics, TUM), Dr. C. Dawid (Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensors, TUM), Dr. M. Herz (Plant Production and Breeding, LfL) Bayerische Kulturlandschaften im Klimawandel - Einfluss des Klimawandelels auf Interaktionen von terrestrischen und aquatischen Ökosystemen: scale dependent digital models as basis for the analysis of habitat change: Prof. Dr. J. Völkel (Geomorphology and Soil Science, TUM/HEF), Prof. Dr. I. Kögel-Knabner (Soil Science, TUM/HEF), Prof. Dr. J. Geist (Aquatic Systems Biology, TUM/HEF), Prof. Dr. M. Schloter (Helmholtz Zentrum München, HMGU/HEF), PD Dr. M. Dannenmann (IMK-IFU Garmisch-Partenkirchen, KIT) DiGeFa - Development of digital yellow traps for use in integrated crop protection and insect monitoring: Dr. N. Siebrecht (Organic Agriculture and Crop Production Systems, TUM), Prof. Dr. K.J. Hülsbergen (Organic Agriculture and Crop Production Systems, TUM/HEF) Setting up DigiFarm Veitshof with a focus on monitoring and improving animal welfare: Prof. Dr. M. Pfaffl (Animal Physiology & Immunology, TUM/HEF), Prof. Dr. H. Bernhardt (Agricultural System Technology, TUM/HEF), Prof. Dr. B. Brügge (Applied Software Technology, TUM), Dr. J. Haladjian (Applied Software Technology, TUM)
20 years of High throughput field phenotyping
On the occasion of the summer conference of the GFPi Department of Cereals on 21 May 2019, the Chair of Plant Nutrition provided information on the latest developments in high-throughput phenotyping. The work was presented to interested breeders in the form of posters and equipment demonstrations at the research station in Dürnast. The presentation was attended by 25 people.
Plant nutrients - from deficiency to abundance
"Plants need many nutrients to grow, flower and produce fruits. Lack of nutrients in this country is not a problem, rather the excess of nitrogen, something in the form of nitrate".
How plants fight back: Plant immune system recognizes bacteria by small fatty acids
Not only humans and animals, but also plants defend themselves against pathogens with the help of their immune system: But what activates the cellular defence? Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now discovered that receptors in plant cells identify bacteria using simple molecular building blocks. "The immune system of plants is more sophisticated than we thought," says Dr. Stefanie Ranf from the Chair of Phytopathology at TUM.
Two-thirds fewer butterflies - Intensive farming reduces the number of butterfly species
Compared to areas in nature reserves, there are not even half as many butterfly species on meadows with adjacent intensive agriculture. The number of individuals even drops to one third. This is shown by the investigations of a research team led by Jan Christian Habel from the Technical University of Munich (TUM, Chair for Terrestrial Ecology) and Thomas Schmitt from Senckenberg Naturforschungsgesellschaft.
The problem of absolute and relative stability
For agriculture, it is not only the level of yield that counts, but also the stability of yields over several years. A meta-analysis by a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM, Chair of Plant Nutrition) and Agroscope in Zurich shows how organic and conventional agriculture differ in this respect.