Sibel Yildirim

Enhancing nitrogen fertilisation efficiency by designing novel nitrification inhibitors to connect soil nitrogen availability and crop yield for a greener agriculture

The key players in microbial assimilation of nitrogen in agricultural systems are the enzymes urease and ammonia monoxygenase (AMO). The oxidase AMO is embedded in the microbial membrane and has copper in its active site. Although inhibitors for AMO (nitrification inhibitors) are already commercially available, their performance varies with soil type, pH and temperature and is highly unpredictable for reasons not well understood so far. This project uses a new approach to the development of new nitrification inhibitors to improve N efficiency. A high throughput screening enables the fast testing of nitrification inhibitors. By understanding the microbial processes occurring during N fertilisation, fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms of plant nutrition will be obtained that enable to guide the design and chemical synthesis of novel nitrification inhibitors with enhanced performance.

Sibel is a joint PhD student at The University of Melbourne and the University of Bonn. Before starting her PhD, she completed undergraduate and graduate studies in Germany majoring in Biomedicinal Chemistry (B.Sc., M.Sc.). During her studies in Germany, she gained expertise in polymer chemistry and electrochemical synthesis.  Sibel has always been interested in applied chemical research topics and projects that are a greener solution to the existing practices. Her PhD project enables her to expand her expertise in organic chemistry, but also work with microbial organisms to understand and improve current environmental problems.

Organisation:
Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne

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