Max Planck Gesellschaft

Simon Benk

Room: B1.005
Phone: +49 3641 57 6131

Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Molecular Biogeochemistry
Street adress: Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
P.O. Box: 100164, 07701 Jena, Germany

Research Focus: Diagnosing ecosystem-level metabolism

Modern omics techniques reveal a previously unseen molecular and microbial diversity in the environment. Focusing on soils and groundwater, I employ untargeted unltrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry analyses on dissolved organic matter to measure the natural expression of functional metabolites. I connect my assessments of the dissolved meta-metabolome with diverse data on microbial community composition and functioning in a multi-omics approach, aiming at developing a deepened understanding of microbe-molecule interactions in nature.


Lohmann, P., Benk S.A., Gleixner, G., Potthast, K., Michalzik, B., Jehmlich, N., von Bergen, M. (2020). Seasonal Patterns of Dominant Microbes Involved in Central Nutrient Cycles in the Subsurface. Microorganisms 8, 1694. doi:10.3390/microorganisms8111694.

Benk S.A., Yan L., Lehmann R., Roth V-N., Schwab V.F., Totsche K.U., Küsel K., Gleixner G. Fueling Diversity in the Subsurface: Composition and Age of Dissolved Organic Matter in the Critical Zone. Front. Earth. Sci., 7 (2019) 296, doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00296.

Sattler T., Sörgel M., Wittmer J., Bourtsoukidis E., Krause T., Atlas E., Benk S.A., Bleichner S., Kamilli K., Ofner J., Kopetzky R., Held A., Palm W.U., Williams J., Zetzsch C., Schöler H.F. Natural Formation of Chloro- and Bromoacetone in Salt Lakes of Western Australia. Atmosphere, 10 (2019) 663, doi:10.3390/atmos10110663.

Benk S.A., Li Y., Roth V-N., Gleixner, G. Lignin Dimers as Potential Markers for 14C-young terrestrial Dissolved Organic Matter in the Critical Zone. Front. Earth Sci., 6 (2018) 168, doi:10.3389/feart.2018.00168.

Berberich G.M., Sattler T., Klimetzek D., Benk S.A., Berberich M.B., Polag D., Schöler H.F., Atlas E. Halogenation processes linked to red wood ant nests (Formica spp.) and tectonics. J. Atmos. Chem, 74 (2017) 261-281, doi: 10.1007/s10874-016-9358-0.

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