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Ingvar Sundh

Ingvar Sundh
I am professor emeritus of Ecological Microbiology and my research topics are related to safety assessment and regulation of beneficial microorganisms utilized within the food chain and for a better environment.


Research topics

Microbial ecology in many different ecosystems, e.g. peatlands, soil, lakes, the composting and anaerobic digestion processes and crop production systems. A recurring theme has been biological cycling of the greenhouse gas methane.

In recent years most of my projects have focused on human and environmental safety assessment of microorganisms used in beneficial applications, especially in biological pest and disease control. From 2012 to 2021, I led the work on this topic at the SLU Centre for Biological Control (CBC), and 2018 to 2021 also in the Horizon 2020-project EcoStack (

More details about my current research can be found on the web-page of the Department of molecular sciences (

Commissions and expert assignments

Questions regarding safety and regulatory policy for microbial applications have strong relevance for stakeholders in society. Therefore I also provide scientific advice, to especially regulatory authorities, organisations and industry, both on national and international level. Examples:

  • Member of EFSA:s (European Food Safety Authority) scientific panel for plant protection products 2012-2018.
  • Participant in working group for EFSA:s QPS list (Qualified Presumption of Safety) for comparatively safe microorganisms, 2013–current.
  • Participant in "Biopesticides" expert group at the EU commission, which e.g. has made a proposal for criteria for plant protection products with "low risk", including those with a microbe as active agent, 2012–current.
  • Several times participated in and gave presentations at seminars arranged by OECD:s Expert Group on BioPesticides (EGBP).
  • Regularly contribute to SLU:s response to referrals on topics connected with safety and new legislation or guidelines for biological control agents.


Main education, employments and assignments:

  • Born in Karlstad and moved to Uppsala in 1976 for studies at Uppsala University.
  • Filosofie kandidat exam in Chemistry, Biology and Geology at Uppsala University 1983.
  • PhD exam in Limnologi at Uppsala University 1991: The dissolved organic carbon released from lake phytoplankton – biochemical composition and bacterial utilization.
  • Researcher at Department of Microbiology, SLU 1991–1997 and 2003–2008.
  • Assistant professor (Forskarassistent) at Department of Microbiology, SLU 1997–2003.
  • Associate professor (Docent) in Microbiology, SLU 1997. Docent lecture: Methane oxidizing bacteria – ecology and role in the global methane cycle.
  • Professor (promoted) of Ecological Microbiology at Department of Microbiology, SLU 2008.
  • Deputy director of SLU Centre for Biological Control (CBC) 2012–2015 and 2017.
  • Director for CBC 2018.
  • Deputy Head of the Department of Microbiology, SLU 2011–2015.
  • Head of the Department of Microbiology, SLU 2015–2016.
  • Professor emeritus of Ecological Microbiology at Department of Molecular Sciences, SLU, from January 2022.

Selected publications

Sundh I, Del Giudice T, Cembalo L (2021) Reaping the benefits of microorganisms in cropping systems: Is the regulatory policy adequate? Microorganisms, 9, 1437.

Sundh I, Eilenberg J (2021) Why has the authorization of microbial biological control agents been slower in the EU than in comparable jurisdictions? Pest Management Science 77, 2170-2178.

Stenberg JA, Sundh I, Becher PG et al. (2021) When is it biological control? A framework of definitions, mechanisms, and classifications. Journal of Pest Science, 94, 665-676.

Koutsoumanis K, Allende A, Alvarez-Ordonez A, et al. (2020) Scientific Opinion on the update of the list of QPS-recommended biological agents intentionally added to food or feed as notified to EFSA (2017–2019). EFSA Journal 18(2):5966. 56 pp.

Herman, L., Chemaly, M., Cocconcelli, P.S., Fernandez, P., Klein, G., Peixe, L., Prieto, M., Querol, A., Suarez, J.E., Sundh, I., Vlak, J. and Correia, S. (2019) The qualified presumption of safety assessment and its role in EFSA risk evaluations: 15 years past. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 366, fny260. doi 10.1093/femsle/fny260.

Scheepmaker, JWA; Busschers, M; Sundh, I; Eilenberg, J; Butt, TM (2019) Sense and nonsense of the secondary metabolites data requirements in the EU for beneficial microbial control agents. Biological Control 136, 104005.

Mallmann, GC; Sousa, JP; Sundh, I; Pieper, S; Arena, M; da Cruz, SP; Klauberg, O (2018) Placing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the risk assessment test battery of plant protection products (PPPs). Ecotoxicology 27, 809-818. 

Ricci, A; Allende, A; Bolton, D et al. (2018) Update of the list of QPS-recommended biological agents intentionally added to food or feed as notified to EFSA 8: suitability of taxonomic units notified to EFSA until March 2018. EFSA Journal 16, DOI: 10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5315.  

Schneider, S; Tajrin, T; Lundstrom, JO ; Hendriksen, NB; Melin, P; Sundh, I (2017) Do multi-year applications of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp israelensis for control of mosquito larvae affect the abundance of B. cereus group populations in riparian wetland soils? Microbial Ecology 74, 901-909. 

Ockleford, C; Adriaanse, P; Berny, P et al. (2017) Scientific Opinion addressing the state of the science on risk assessment of plant protection products for in-soil organisms. EFSA Journal 15, DOI: 10.2903/j.efsa.2017.4690.

Schneider S, Hendriksen NB, Melin P, Lundström JO, Sundh I (2015) Chromosome-directed PCR-based detection and quantification of Bacillus cereus group members with focus on B. thuringiensis serovar israelensis active against nematoceran larvae. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 81: 4894-4903.

Whittle P, Sundh I, Neate S (2015) Surveillance for microbial soilborne pathogens and biocontrol organisms. In Jarrad F et al. (eds.) Biosecurity Surveillance: Quantitative Approaches, in press. CABI Publishing, UK, pp. 181-202.

Lau D, Sundh I, Goedkoop W, Vrede T (2014) Autochthonous materials are the dominant sources of consumer biomass in boreal lakes – evidence from stable isotopes and fatty acid biomarkers. Ecology 95: 1506-1519.

Lagerlöf J, Adolfsson L, Börjesson G, Ehlers K, Palares Vinyoles G, Sundh I (2014) Land-use intensification and agroforestry in the Kenyan highland: Impacts on soil microbial community composition and functional capacity. Applied Soil Ecology 82: 93-99.

Sundh I, Goettel MS (2013) Regulating biocontrol agents: a historical perspective and a critical examination comparing microbial and macrobial agents. BioControl 58: 575-593. 

Sundh I, Wilcks A, Goettel MS (2013) Harnessing the value of beneficial microorganisms: Role of regulatory landscapes. CAB Reviews 8: No. 013.

Sanseverino A, Bastviken D, Sundh I, Pickova J, Enrich-Prast A (2012) Methane carbon supports aquatic food webs to the fish level. PLoS ONE 7: e42723.

Sundh I, Wilcks A, Goettel MS, editors (2012) Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture, Food and the Environment: Safety Assessment and Regulation, CAB International Publishing, UK, 343 pp.

Johnsson Holmberg A-I, Melin P, Levenfors JP, Sundh I (2012) Fate and behaviour of a seed-applied Pseudomonas brassicacearum strain in a winter wheat field trial, as determined by analysis with SCAR markers. Biocontrol Science and Technology 22: 379-392.

Feng X-M, Johnsson Holmberg A-I, Sundh I, Ricard T, Melin P (2011) Specific SCAR markers and multiplex real-time PCR for quantification of two Trichoderma biocontrol strains in environmental samples. BioControl 56: 903-913.

Sundh I, Hökeberg M, Levenfors JJ, Nilsson AI (2011) Safety assessment of biocontrol and plant growth promoting pseudomonads useful in crop production. Annals of Applied Biology 159: 291-301.

Håkansson S, Sundh I (2011) Domesticering av Mikroorganismer. (In Swedish). In: Formas Fokuserar: Genteknik som tar Skruv. Published by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).

Sundh I, Melin P (2011) Safety and regulation of yeasts used for biocontrol or biopreservation in the food or feed chain. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 99: 113-119.

Jäderlund L, Hellman M, Sundh I, Bailey MJ, Jansson JK (2008) Use of a novel nonantibiotic triple marker gene cassette to monitor high survival of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 on winter wheat in the field. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 63: 156-168.

Widenfalk A, Bertilsson S, Sundh I, Goedkoop W (2007) Effects of pesticides on community composition and activity of sediment microbes - Responses at various levels of microbial organization. Environmental Pollution 152: 576-584.

Sundh I, Bastviken D, Tranvik LJ (2005)  Abundance, activity, and community structure of pelagic methane-oxidizing bacteria in temperate lakes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71: 6746-6752.

Nyberg K, Sundh I, Johansson M, Schnürer A (2004) Effects of anaerobic digestion residues on substrate induced respiration (SIR) and potential ammonia oxidation (PAO) in an arable soil. Applied Soil Ecology 26: 107-112.

Steger K, Jarvis Å, Smårs S, Sundh I (2003) Comparison of PLFA-, EL- and MIDI-methods for determination of microbial community structure in compost. Journal of Microbiological Methods 55: 371-382.

Silvola J, Saarnio S, Foot J, Sundh I, Greenup A, Heijmans M, Joabsson A, Mitchell E, Van Breemen N (2003) Effects of elevated CO2 and N deposition on CH4 emissions from European mires. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 17, June issue.

Sundh I, Nilsson M, Mikkelä C, Granberg G, Svensson BH (2000) Fluxes of methane and carbon dioxide on peat mining areas in Sweden. Ambio 29: 499-503.

Sundh I, Mikkelä C, Nilsson M, Svensson BH (1995) Potential aerobic methane oxidation in a  Sphagnum-dominated peatland - controlling factors and relation to methane emission. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 27: 829-837.

Sundh I (1992) Biochemical composition of dissolved organic carbon derived from phytoplankton and used by heterotrophic bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 58: 2938-2947.


Professor emeritus at the Department of Molecular Sciences; Livs- och fodermedel
Telephone: +4618673208
Postal address:
Institutionen för molekylära vetenskaper
Box 7015
750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, BioCentrum, Ultuna, Uppsala