Ohana Costa

Dr. Ohana Costa PhD

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Visiting Address

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands


In my current project, I evaluate the impact of some biopolymers in the growth, nutrient content and microbial communities of crops, studying mechanisms and microbes responsible for positive effects and if those effects are long-lasting.


I was born on 3rd June 1990 in Manaus (Amazonas), Brazil. In 2011, I completed my BSc degree in Biomedicine at the Catholic University of Brasilia (UCB), Brazil. In 2016 I moved to The Netherlands to start my PhD research at the Department of Microbial Ecology of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in collaboration with the Institute of Biology of Leiden University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jos Raaijmakers and Dr. Eiko Kuramae. Currently, I am a PostDoc working in the Microbial Ecology Department of NIOO in the project MicroProFarm, under the supervision of Dr. Eiko Kuramae.

Research groups

Projects & collaborations


  • Succession of microbial functions in degraded saline soil restoration

    Project 2022–Present
    The global saline-alkali land area has already exceeded 1.1 billion hectares. China has about 100 million hectares. Rice cultivation has been used as an effective strategy to amend saline-alkaline lands in northeastern Songnen Plain in China since the 1950s. However, it is not known the role of microbial functions during succession of soil restoration. The aim of this project is to fundamental understanding the microbial functions succession during the saline soil restoration.
    rice in salt soil
  • PhyloFunDB

    Project 2020–Present
    PhyloFunDB. This project aims at creating and maintaining phylogenetically validated reference databases of various microbial functional genes and creating the tools to make the databases available for the scientific community
    Pipeline for analyses of functional genes.
  • The role of beneficial microbe in soil aggregation

    Project 2019–Present
    The aim of this project is to determine the ecological relationship between bacteria and soil aggregates. We inoculate individual beneficial bacteria and different microbial communities from different natural soils in simulated Mars soil, attempting to explain their improvement in soil aggregate stability by bacterial exudates (EPS), necromass and microbial functional traits.
    Aggregate in Mars simulated soil by Acidobacteria WH15 (photo: Jan Dijksterhuis)
  • Farming microbial community for plant probiotic - MicroProFarm

    Project 2020–Present
    A current challenge for modern agriculture is to meet the food production needs for an increasing global population while improving resource use efficiency and attenuating impacts on human health and environment. In order to maximize reliability and stability in agriculture, optimization of crop management and resource use efficiency have been considered the best approaches for a sustainable increase of crop yields under variable agro-ecological conditions, environments and years. For this purpose, one interesting and sustainable method is the use of natural plant biostimulants, a diverse class of products and microorganisms that enhance plant growth and other plant parameters, such as flowering, fruit set, crop productivity and nutrient use efficiency. In this context, several studies already demonstrated that plant biostimulants can induce morpho-anatomical, biochemical, physiological and molecular plant responses, not only improving crop productivity but also promoting protection against abiotic stresses, such as drought and salinity. Among the different biostimulant classes there are protein hydrolysates (PH), mixtures of polypeptides, oligopeptides and aminoacids originated from partially hydrolyzed animal and vegetal tissues. Even though the effect of PH were already observed in diverse crops, the mechanisms and behind their action are still scarcely studied, and their action can vary depending on their origin, characteristics, crop species, cultivars, growing conditions, time and mode of applications, among other parameters. The objective of this project is to evaluate the effect of protein hydrolysates in the growth, nutrient content and microbial communities of crops, if microbes are responsible for these effects, which are the mechanisms and if such effects are long-lasting.
    Impact of protein biostimulants in a variety of crops
  • Physiological and ecological strategies of Acidobacteria

    Project 2016–2020
    Acidobacteria is among the most abundant phylum in soils, however, their physiological capabilities and co-occurrence with soil inhabitants are still unknown.