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Aurélien Saghaï

Aurélien Saghai
I am investigating the ecology and evolution of microbial communities involved in the cycling of nitrogen in agricultural soils.


I study archaea and bacteria involved in various N transformations (denitrification, nitrification, dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium - DNRA) in arable soils and in the rhizosphere. Understanding the ecology and evolution of these microorganisms is central to the design of agricultural practices that limit N losses and contribute to mitigate both climate change and environmental pollution. 

Currently my research focuses on deciphering the controls of the partitioning of nitrate between DNRA and denitrifiers and investigating the effects of chemical elicitors on wheat rhizosphere communities, particularly nitrifiers.

In my research I use a combination of field surveys and experimental studies, together with multivariate and phylogenetic tools.


I am teaching at bachelor, master and PhD level. My lectures cover the ecology of archaea and bacteria in arable soils and in the rhizosphere, as well as an introduction to the protist world. I am also supervising literature projects within the course on soil biology and biochemical cycles.


PhD students

Laura Müller (co-supervisor; 2021-)

Master students

Elin Almén (main supervisor; 2021)

Selected publications

The full list of peer-reviewed publications can be found here.

Saghaï A, Wittorf L, Philippot L, Hallin S (2022). Loss in soil microbial diversity constrains microbiome selection and alters the abundance of N-cycling guilds in barley rhizosphere. Applied Soil Ecology 104224.

Garland G,  Edlinger A,  Banerjee S,  Degrune F,  Garcia-Palacios P,  Pescador DS,  Herzog C,  Romdhane S,  Saghaï A, Spor A, Wagg C, Hallin S, Maestre FT,  Philippot L,  Rillig MC,  van der Heijden MGA (2021). Crop cover is more important than rotational diversity for soil multifunctionality and cereal yields in European cropping systems. Nature Food 2:28-37.

Edlinger E, Saghaï A, Herzog C, Degrune F and Garland G (2020). Towards a multidimensional view of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a changing world. New Phytol 228: 820-822.

Graf DRH, Saghaï A, Zhao M, Carlsson G, Jones CM and Hallin S (2019). Lucerne (Medicago sativa) alters N2O-reducing communities associated with cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) roots and promotes N2O production in intercropping in a greenhouse experiment. Soil Biol and Biochem 137:107547.


Researcher at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology; Markmikrobiologi
Telephone: +4618-671575
Postal address:
Skoglig mykologi och växtpatologi
Box 7026
750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, Uppsala