External ecological system changes can alter microbial communities and thus have a central influence on the health of plants, animals and humans. However, the underlying causes, mechanisms and interrelationships have, so far, hardly been investigated. With our interdisciplinary research, we want to help close this knowledge gap.
At the heart of our research is the question of what effects different environmental factors have on food systems, from soil to plant to ruminants and finally mice, as model organisms for human health. In particular, we are interested in how environmental chemicals affect the composition and functions of the microbial societies of plants, animals and humans. For the first time, our interdisciplinary approach allows comparative analysis of how microbial communities at different interfaces in the food chain react to factors such as heavy metals, pesticides and vegetable secondary materials, and how these changes affect the health of individual links within the food chain and the entire system. In the long term, the knowledge gained can contribute to understanding and correcting negative impacts on habitats in global food chains.