Stijn van den Bergh

Stijn van den Bergh MSc

PhD Student
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Visiting Address

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands



I want to contribute to a more sustainable world through my research on the interface of microbial ecology and sustainable agriculture.


After finishing my bachelor in Biology and master in Environmental Biology at Universiteit Utrecht, I started in January 2019 as a PhD candidate in the Microbial Ecology department at NIOO in the group of Paul Bodelier. My NWO-TTW Open Technology-funded project focuses on the occurrence and underlying mechanisms of organic residue-stimulated atmospheric methane uptake by agricultural soils.



PhD candidate at NIOO-KNAW


  • 2016–2018
    MSc Environmental Biology at Utrecht University
  • 2011–2016
    BSc Biology at Utrecht University


Peer-reviewed publications

  • Environmental Technology & Innovation

    Effect of pre-treatment processes of organic residues on soil aggregates

    Vania Scarlet Chavez-Rico, Stijn van den Bergh, Paul Bodelier, Miriam van Eekert, Yujia Luo, Klaas G.J. Nierop, Valentina Sechi, Adrie Veeken, Cees N.J. Buisman
    Process technologies, such as composting, anaerobic digestion, or lactic acid fermentation, greatly influence the resulting organic amendments (OAs) characteristics even when the same raw material is used. However, it is still unclear how these process technologies indirectly modify the effect of OAs on soil microbial activity and soil aggregation. To determine the effect of OA produced using pre-treatment technologies on the soil microbial activity and soil aggregation, we ran a soil column experiment in which we applied compost, digestate and lactic acid fermentation product made of the same model bio-waste. The results indicated that OAs produced under anaerobic conditions (fermented product and digestate) increased microbial activity, biomass, and soil micro- and macro-aggregation compared to compost and control treatments. Soil microbial activity strongly correlated to C, Ca, Mg, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), fungal biomass, and macroaggregate formation (, ). Simultaneously, soil macroaggregate formation strongly correlated to water-extractable C, EPS, cation exchange capacity, K, Mg, Na, and bacterial biomass (, ). This study demonstrated that the effect of an organic substrate on soil properties can be modified towards desired effects using different pre-treatment technologies, suggesting the possibility of “engineer” OAs.

Projects & collaborations


  • SmartResidue

    Project 2019–2023
    This project will investigate residue-stimulated atmospheric methane oxidation, and aims to elucidate its occurrence in field conditions, responsible microorganisms, underlying mechanisms and controlling factors.
    Sampling compost