Fourth International Conference

Enzymes in the Environment:

Activity, Ecology & Applications



17-21 July, 2011

Bad Nauheim, Germany



Program Abstracts, Presentations, and Posters can be viewed at:


Conference  Summary

The 4th International Conference, Enzymes in the Environment was held July 17 to 21 and again followed the highly successful series on ecological enzymology that were held in Granada, Spain, in 1999, Prague, The Czech Republic in 2003, and Viterbo, Italy in 2007. Dr. Jürgen Marxsen did an outstanding job on the organizational and local arrangements for the current conference in Bad Nauheim.  Furthermore, we are grateful for the support of his university, the Justus Liebig University of Giessen.


There were 162 participants from 34 countries who were microbiologists and biochemists studying terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. These scientists represented a diverse set of disciplines who normally do not interact, but have a common interests on the microbial ecology of extracellular enzymes.


This conference had a major shift towards use of proteomic and nucleic acid approaches for studying ecological enzymology.  This complemented the rich history of enzymology based on activity assays. A major contribution was focused on gene expression of extracellular enzymes to link specific enzyme activities with microbial functional groups or species.  In particular, recent developments were presented on the role of signaling molecules and use of proteomics and ribosomal and messenger RNA to provide insights into the mechanistic ecology of extracellular enzymes in relation to functions of microorganisms.


The conference had a range of topics that reflected recent advances for aquatic and terrestrial microbiology. A major emphasis of the conference was on methodology which included use of microplate methods and molecular approaches for studying extracellular enzymes. There were a number of interesting papers on natural attenuation to remediate contaminated soil and water that utilized extracellular enzymes. Papers were presented on extreme environments and stress induced by anthropogenic activities due to disturbance, pollution or global climate change.  The results indicate the unique adaptation in enzyme expression that microbial communities perform in order to maintain community functions in altered ecosystems.


The conference reflected the continuing interest to use enzymology as a basis for many practical applications.  This included biosensors, manipulation of organisms to express extracellular enzymes for plant disease suppression, and bioremediation of polluted soils.


The Organizing Committee presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to individuals who have made a significant contribution to ecological enzymology. The Terrestrial Enzymology Award was given to Dr. Tom Speir for his internationally recognized research on the ecology of soil enzymes and use of microbial properties as ecosensors and measures of soil quality.  The Aquatic Enzymology Award was given to Professor Ryszard Chróst in recognition of his highly acclaimed career in limnic microbiology and role of extracellular enzymes in nutrient cycling of aquatic systems.  Professors Hoppe and Burns gave inaugural lectures, respectively, on the status and future directions of ecological enzymology.


The conference organizers wish to thank the sponsors shown below for the financial support of the conference.  In particular, we thank the substantial financial support of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies and the US National Science Foundation.  I want to extend a special thanks to Dr. Jürgen Marxsen and his students and staff for the hard work and hospitality in hosting the conference.
Richard P. Dick,  Executive Director

Ohio State University, USA


Program Abstracts, Presentations, and Posters can be viewed at:



Monday, July 18

8:30     Welcome

                  Jürgen Marxsen, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

                  President, Joybrato Mukherjee, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

8:45     Introduction of Conference   

                  Richard Dick, Ohio State University, USA

9:00     Symposium I: Distinguished Enzyme Lectures – 

Chair:  Professor Richard Burns

                 Aquatic Lifetime Award Lecture

Persistence of Extracellular Enzymes in Lake Ecosystems (Wanted Dead or 

                 Alive Bacteria)

     Ryszard Chróst, University of Warsaw, Poland

9:45          Terrestrial Lifetime Award Lecture

                 What Role can Soil Enzymes Play? – Insights from the 21st Century

     Tom Speir, Inst. for Environ. Science and Research, LTD, New Zealand


Symposium II: Biogeography of Extracellular Enzymes – Micro to Macro Scales;

Chair: Carmen Trasar-Cepeda, IIAG-CSIC, Spain

11:10        Multiple-Scale Distribution and Function of Enzymes in Soils

                        Ellen Kandeler, University of Hohenheim

11:40         Microbial Enzyme Activities in an Early Successional Stream Network

                        Aline Frossard, EAWAG, Switzerland

12:00        Spatial and Temporal Variability of Enzyme Activities in a Forest Top- and Subsoil

                        Bernd Marschner, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany  

12:20        Mechanisms of Cellobiose Hydrolysis by B-Glucosidase from Aspergillus  Niger in the Presence of Adsorbing Surfaces

                        Carlo Lammirato, Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany


Monday, July 18 (continued)

Symposium III-A   Methods: Are “-omics” the Holy Grail for Elicitinghe

            Microbial Ecology of Extracellular Enzymes?

                 Chair: Flavio Fornasier, Agriculture Research Council, Gorizia, Italy

14:30         Integrating Geonomics, Transcriptomics, Proteomics, and Metabolomics into Environmental Enzymology: The Next Frontier or Fool’s Gold?

                      Matt Wallenstein, Colorado State University, USA  

15:00         Metaproteomics: Linking Microbial Diversity to Ecosystem Functioning  

                       Katharine Riedel, Institute of Microbiology, Braunschweig, Germany

 Symposium III-B  Methods: Emerging Procedures’ Vignettes

     Chair: Jim Germida, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

16:00        Single-cell Phosphatase Activity Quantification by Enzyme Labeled Fluorescence and 3D Images

                      Daniel Diaz De Quijano, University of Barcelona, Spain

16:10        Sensitive and High-Throughput Fluorometric Enzymatic Assay

                        Flavio Fornasier, Agriculture Research Council, Gorizia, Italy

16:20        31P-NMR Spectroscopy of Phytase-treated Alkaline Soil Extracts Reveals Potential Enzymatic Formation of Organic Phosphorus

Kathrin Eva Annaheim, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland

16:30        Electronic Nose Technology to Measure Soil Microbial Activity and Classify Soil Metabolic Status

                        Fabrizio DeCesare, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy


Symposium III-C  Methods: Position Presentations –omics and Activities

     Chair: Richard Dick, Ohio State University, USA

16:40        Pandora’s – –omics Box for Microbial Ecologists: Research Challenges and Dilemmas in the –omics Era

Ji-Dong Gu, University of Hong Kong, China

17:00        Bench Scale and Microplate Format Assay of Soil Enzyme Activities Using                Spectroscopic and Fluorometric Approaches

                        Shiping Deng, Oklahoma State University, USA

17:20        Panel Response

Michael Weintraub, University of Dayton, USA; Warren Dick, Ohio State University, USA; Carol Arnosti, University of North Carolina, USA

17:40        Facilitated Discussion


Day 3, Tuesday July 19

Symposium IV-A Extracellular Enzymes in Aquatic Ecosystems under Changing Climate

Chair: Annamaria Zoppini IRSA-CNR, Roma, Italy

9:00           Enzymes in the Land: Water Interface: Options for Geoengineering the Climate

                        Chris Freeman, Bangor University, Wales

9:30          Effect of Ocean Acidification on Microbial Degradation of Organic matter             derived from a Thalassiosira weissflogii chemostat culture

            Sonja Endres, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany

9:50          Intermittent Water Regimes Differentially Affects C:N:P Ratios and    Ectoenzyme Activities in a Mediterranean Stream

                        Xisca Timoner, Catalan Institute for Water Research, Spain

10:10        Impact of Elevated CO2, N Supplementation and Salinity on Enzyme Activity    and Microbial Community Structure in Salt Marsh Ecosystems

                        Hojeong Kang, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

               Symposium IV-B  Extracellular Enzymes in Terrestrial Ecosystems under a Changing Climate

                 Chair: Kazuyuki Inubushi, Chiba University, Japan

11:10        Soil Extracellular Enzyme Dynamics in a Changing Climate for Terrestrial Systems

                        Hugh Henry, University of Western Ontario, Canada

11:40        Increased Activity of Loblolly Pine Rhizosphere Enzymes under Elevated CO2 Soils

                        Ina C. Meier, Indiana University, USA

12:00        How Do Soil Nitrogen Mineralization Enzymes Respond to Changing Temperatures?

                        Fiona Fraser, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, UK

12:20        The Effects of Long-Term Warming on Tundra Soil Enzyme Dynamics

                        Seeta A. Sistla, University of California Santa Barbara, USA

12:40     General Discussion: Symposium IV

14:30        Poster Session: Symposia I-IV (Authors Present)

15:30        Coffee and tea amenities available

             Symposium V: Enzymes and Other Signaling Molecules to Deliver Ecosystem Services

                 Chair: Dr. Petr Baldrian, Institute of Microbiology ASCR, Czech Republic

16:00      Molecular Signals Involved in the Microbiological Control of Tomato Foot Root Rot

                        Ben Lugtenberg, Leiden University, The Netherlands

16:30      Do Phosphatases Play a Significant Role in Phosphorus Cycling under Phosphorus-Limited Permanent Grassland?

Else Bünemann-König, Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

16:50     Abiontic Soil Hydrogenases and Actinobacteria and Uptake of Atmospheric Hydrogen

Ralf Conrad, Max-Planck-Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany

17:10     General Discussion: Symposium V

17:30     Adjourn


19:30     Gala Dinner: Presentation of Lifetime Enzymology Achievement Awards

                        Rauischholzhausen Castle


Day 4, Wednesday, July 20

Symposium VI: Aquatic Enzymology

       Chair:  Jürgen Marxsen, Justus Liebig University, Germany

8:30        Microbial Enzymes in Aquatic Environments – Past, Present and Future

                    Uwe Munster, University of Helsinki, Finland

9:00        Extracellular Enzymatic Activity in The Dark Ocean: New Insights and Enigmas

                    Gerhard J. Herndl, University of Vienna, Austria

9:30        Autecological Insight to Phytoplankton Extracellular Phosphatases – Bulk to Cell-Specific Activity

                    Jaroslav Vrba, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic

9:50                 Enzymes in Marine Invertebrates and their Habitats        

        Reinhard Saborowski , Alfred Wegener Inst. Polar and Marine Res. Germany

10:10   General Discussion: Symposium VI

         Symposium VII: Bioremediation – Nucleic Acids and Enzyme Expression

            Chair Maria Rao, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

11:00      Genes, Enzymes, and Environment: What Do We Need to Know to Predict Bioremediation Activity in Soil?

                    Mary Stromberger, Colorado State University, USA

11:30      Chitosan: An Attractive Candidate for the Production of Laccase-Based Biocatalysts

                    Hubert Cabana, University of Sherbrooke, Canada

11:50      Evolving Phytochelatin-Based Metal Tolerance in Plants

                     Joseph M. Jez, Washington University, USA

12:10      Enhanced Enzymatic Activities in Seawater from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

                    Kai Ziervogel, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, USA

12:30      White Rot Fungal Enzyme Production to Bioremediate Oil-Contaminated Soil

                    Natalia Pozdnyakova, Inst. Bioch & Microorg, Academy of Sciences, Russia


         Symposium VIII: Enzyme Activities as Ecosensors

            Chair: María M. Martínez Centro Avanzado de Gestión, Innovación, Chile

16:00      Enzyme Activities as Sensitive Indicators of Changes in Soil Metabolic Functioning in

               Alternative Management for Continuous Cotton

   Verónica Acosta-Martinez, Cropping Systems Research Lab, USDA-ARS, USA           

16:30      Microbial Adaption in Zinc-Contaminated Soils as Assessed by Nitrate Reductase,

   β-Galactosidase and Potential Nitrification Activities

                    Edoardo Puglisi, Istituto di Microbiologia-CRB, Italy

16:50      Activity of Exoenzymes in Treated Wastewater Irrigated Soils

                    Elizabeth Jüschke, Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

17:10      Enzymes as Bioindicators of Soil Quality

                    Rosalia Scelza, Università di Napoli, Federico II, Italy

17:30      Linking Microbial Community Composition and Activity to Soil Organic Matter Dynamics with Subtropical Forest Recovery

     A. Payton Smith, University of  Wisconsin-Madison, USA


Day 5, Thursday, July 21

9:00     Symposium IX: Review of Posters

                      Richard Burns, University of Queensland, Australia

 10:00   Symposium X: Closing Keynote Lecture

                  Microbial Extracellular Enzymes as Selective Catalysts in the Marine Carbon Cycle

                      Carol Arnosti, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

14:00   Post Conference Tour: Interdisciplinary Research Center for Biosystems, Land Use and Nutrition (IFZ) at the University of Giessen


Organizing Committee

Pr. Richard Burns, University of Queensland, Australia
Pr. Jose M. Barea, Es. Exp. del Zaidin, CSIC, Spain
Pr. Ryszard J. Chrost, Warsaw University, Poland
Pr. Shiping Deng, Oklahoma State University
Pr. Richard P. Dick, Ohio State University, USA
Pr. Stefano Grego, Università della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
Pr. Ji-Dong Gu, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong
Pr. Hans-Georg Hoppe, Inst. for Marine Sci., Kiel, Germany
Pr. Ellen Kandeler, Hohenheim University, Germany
Dr. Juergen Marxsen, Justus Liebig Univ. Giessen, Germany
Dr. Annelise Kjøller, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark
Pr.  Paolo Nannipieri, Univ. degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
Dr. Tom Speir, Inst. Environ. Sci. & Res., Ltd, New Zealand
Dr. Jaroslav Vrba, Hydrobiological Institute, Czech Republic 




Sponsors and Endorsements


Justus Liebig University The Ohio State University Federation of European Microbiological Societies National Science Foundation
International Scociety of Limology International Soil Science Society Soil Science Society of America Journal of Soil Biology 
and Biochemistry

InterResearch Center,
Oldendorf, Germany


Executive Conference Director:
Program Information:
Pr. Richard P. Dick
School of Environ. & Natural Resources
Ohio State University, 210 Kottman
Columbus, OH   43210 USA
Tel:   +1-614-247-7605
Fax:  +1-614-292-7432

Organizational Director:
Pr. Juergen Marxsen
Aquatic Microbial Ecology
Department of Animal Ecology
Justus Liebig University Giessen
D-35392 Giessen, Germany
Tel  +49-641-99-35750
Fax  +49-641-99-35709

Conference Registration & Management:
Ms. Joan Sandeno
Crop and Soil Science
Oregon State University
Ag/Life Sciences Building 3055 
Corvallis, OR 97331
Tel +1 541-737–9576 
Fax + 541-737-5725