of eps in soil and plant science

The Wetsus Grant allowance is not guaranteed and has to be approved by the Grant committee.

Background and Research objective

In natural environment, over 99% of microbial life live within biofilms (Potera, 1996; Vu et al., 2009). The development of soil biofilms affects the local soil physicochemical properties. Biofilms are aggregates of microbes (bacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa), connected by extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) which  comprises up to 80% of a soil biofilm’s dry mass (Chenu, 1993; Vu et al., 2009). The EPS of mixed-species biofilms is primarily composed of carbohydrates/polysaccharides, proteins, and uronic acids, with smaller quantities of DNA and glycolipids (Flemming & Wingender, 2010). The biofilm-secreted EPS makes up the intercellular space of microbial aggregates, and develops connection among minerals and strengthens the internal cohesion of soil microaggregates (Lünsdorf et al., 2000; Vu et al., 2009). This can protect soil organic matter (SOM) effectively (Six et al., 2004) and maintain soil structure stability and functioning (Lentz, 2015).

In this project, we aim to investigate the potential benefits of EPS bringing to soil and plant growth. We are going to perform a pot experiment in a climate chamber and quantify plant growth with application of EPS.


  • Background in Microbiology/Soil Biology or equivalent;
  • Great interests in soil microbiology and plant science;
  • Good analytical and experimental skills;
  • Experiences in microbial cultivation and soil characterization are highly appreciated;
  • Fluent in English and good English writing skills.

    Duration and location

  • At least 6 month at Wetsus
  • Start: September 1st, 2023

Please contact Yujia Luo ( and Carlos Contreras Davila ( for more information or directly apply by sending your CV and motivation letter.