Maria Hundscheid

Ing. Maria Hundscheid

Research assistant
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Visiting Address

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands


Maria is a knowledgeable, resourceful and passionate Research Assistant specialized in Microbiology, Plants and Fieldwork with interests in soil and agricultural practice. Her drive is to work on ecological solutions and to be helpful.


1990 she got her degree in Laboratory Science specialized in Plants in Wageningen at Larenstein (applied Science)
1990 she started at the former IOO (Instituut voor Oecologisch Onderzoek) in Weeversduin, and worked in the applied group of Wim van der Putten with Olga Clevering on vraat bij Mattenbies
1991 she worked on the Leaching of Nitrogen in woods on sandy soils in the project of Wietse de Boer
From 1992 till 2006 she worked in the Populations of Plants group on the Plantago Project concerning male sterility of Jos van Damme
From 2006 ongoing she works at ME (Microbiele Ecology) in the group of Wietse de Boer on different projects
From 2015 till 2016 she worked on a NIOO project on volatiles with Paolina Garbeva and Gera Hol.

Research groups

Projects & collaborations


  • VolControl: Enhancing Production of Pathogen-Suppressing Volatiles

    Project 2022–2026
    VolControl will examine the possibility to enhance control of soil-borne fungal crop diseases via stimulation of production of pathogen-suppressing volatiles by soil microbes. The working hypothesis is that these volatiles will be released by bacteria upon decomposition of selected organic materials that contain precursors of suppressive volatiles. During the first phase of the project, different organic materials will be screened and the ones that give the most promising results will be further tested for disease suppressing performance in greenhouse - and field trials. In addition, information will be provided on the identity of the produced suppressing volatiles and the microbes that release these volatiles. The project will be done in close collaboration with participating companies to optimize application perspectives
    VolControl Project overview
  • AgriWood

    Project 2020–2023
    In AgriWood we examine the best strategies to stimulate saprotrophic fungi (fungi growing on dead organic materials) in arable soil. Most arable soils contain a very low amount of fungal filaments (hyphae). This is due to intensive tillage, use of fungicides and lack of degradable organic materials. The latter factor appears to be the most important one and, therefore, growth of saprotrophic fungi can be enhanced by feeding them. This can have several benefits, including the increase of natural disease suppression (intensification of competition between saprotrophs and pathogens), improving the efficiency of use of nitrogen fertilizers (fungi can store overloads of nitrogen), contribution to a better soil structure (fungal hyphae are involved in soil aggregate formation) and stimulation of a richer soil food web (increase of fungus-feeding micro- and mesofauna). Solid, carbon-rich materials are well suited to stimulate saprotrophic fungi and in our previous research we found that sawdusts of deciduous trees perform particularly well: rapid and long-lasting stimulation. More details on this research is available at:
    In the current project, we examine the addition of sawdust in greenhouse- and field-trials to optimize the application strategies for different purposes (disease suppression, reduction nitrogen losses).

    Nederlandse beschrijving van het onderzoek in:

    Sawdust on an arable field before ploughing it in
  • Insectloop: Microbes involved in the decomposition of rest-streams of insect production

    Project 2018–2022
    This is a sub-project of a WUR-NIOO project entitled "Closing the loop: exploiting sustainable insect production to improve soil, crop and animal health", coordinated by Prof. Marcel Dicke. Insects can transform waste streams into high-value proteins for food and feed. Consequently, insects provide valuable contributions to a circular economy. The project aims to investigate the valorisation of the rest-stream of insect production, i.e. moulting skins and faeces (‘frass’) to enhance soil health and crop health (
    In the NIOO project, we study the decomposition rate of frass and moulting skins of three insects species (black soldier fly, mealworm, cricket) in arable soil as well as the composition of the fungal and bacterial decomposers. In addition, we study if the insect materials, which are rich in chitin, can be used to control soil-borne fungal plant diseases.
    Bioassay with insect materials
  • Sapro-Feed: Increasing Crop Health by Stimulating Saprotrophic Fungi

    Project 2015–2019
    The aim of the Saprofeed project was to enhance natural biocontrol of root-infecting pathogenic fungi in arable soils via stimulation of the growth of saprotrophic fungi (growing on dead organic materials). The basic idea, indicated in the picture, is that stimulation of saprotrophic fungi will lead to direct or indirect (via bacteria) competitive suppression of root-infecting pathogens.
    Fungal hyphae growing out of a wood particle into the soil