Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner


Soil Science

Academic Career and Research Areas

Soil processes and soil management, especially the type and intensity of land use, affect the global carbon cycle. Prof. Kögel-Knabner (b. 1958) investigates the formation, composition and properties of organic matter in soils and their central role in the global carbon cycle. She uses sophisticated spectroscopic methods, such as 13C NMR spectroscopy and nanoSIMS, to investigate the association of organic and mineral matter in soils at the submicron scale.

Prof. Kögel-Knabner studied geoecology at the University of Bayreuth, where she also obtained a doctorate in soil science (1987) and earned her post-doctoral teaching qualification (Habilitation 1992). In 1991, she was appointed to a professorship for soil science and soil ecology at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Since 1995, she has served as Chair of Soil Science at TUM. Prof. Kögel-Knabner is a member of academies (Academia Europaea, Leopoldina, acatech, Bavarian Academy of Sciences) and was member of the Bioeconomy Council of the German Federal Government. Since 2015, she has been on the list of "Highly Cited Researchers", and counts among the most cited scientists in the world.


  • German Environment Award, German Federal Environment Foundation (2019)
  • Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art (2018)
  • Philippe-Duchaufour-Medal, European Geosciences Union (2015)
  • Emil-Ramann-Medal, German Soil Science Society (2015)
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2013)

Kögel-Knabner I, Amelung W: “Soil organic matter in major pedogenic soil groups”. Geoderma. 2021; 384: 114785.


Lehmann J, Hansel CM, Kaiser C, Kleber M, Maher K, Manzoni S, Nunan N, Reichstein M, Schimel JP, Torn MS, Wieder WR, Kögel-Knabner I: “Persistence of soil organic carbon caused by functional complexity.” Nature Geoscience 2020; 13: 529–534.


Amelung W, Bossio D, De Vries W, Kögel-Knabner I, Lehmann J, Amundson R, Bol R, Collins C, Lal R, Leifeld J, Minasny B, Pan G, Paustian K, Sanderman C, Von Groenigen JW, Mooney S, Van Wesemael B, Wander M, Chabbi A: “Towards implementing a global scale soil climate mitigation strategy”.Nature Communications. 2020; 11: 5427.


Steffens M, Rogge D, Mueller C, Höschen C, Lugmeier J, Kölbl A, Kögel-Knabner I:  “Identification of distinct functional microstructural domains controlling C storage in soil”. Environmental Science & Technology 2017; 51: 12182-12189.


Vogel C, Mueller CW, Höschen C, Buegger F, Heister K, Schulz S, Schloter M, Kögel-Knabner I: "Submicron structures provide preferential spots for carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils". Nature Communications. 2014; 5: 2947.