• PhD Environmental Science (University of Manchester) - 2008-2013
  • BSc Environmental Science (University of Manchester) - 2008

PhD project

Fungal Decomposition of Organic Matter in Soils

Supervised by:

Research interests

Decomposition of dead plant material in soil is a process of equivalent importance to primary production in ecosystem functioning, and is driven partly by saprotrophic fungi. Basidiomycete fungi are particularly important in lignin degradation [Kirk & Farrell, 1987].

The aims of this project are to characterise the distribution and function of saprotrophic basidiomycete mycelia in agricultural soils, and their influence on the fate of soil organic matter, particularly lignin and cellulose. These will be achieved using DNA extraction techniques and a combination of diverse analytical techniques to futher determine the degradation of macromolecular organic matter in collected samples.

Fungal isolation frequencies, their potential functions, and progress with organic geochemistry have been obtained and presented. Future experiments include an analogous field study in Kenyan grassland and additional lab experiments under controlled conditions.



  • July 2009 - Kabuyah R.N.M., C. H. Robinson, B. E. van Dongen, Fungal decomposition of organic matter in soils. British Organic Geochemistry Society meeting. Univeristy of Bristol.


  • December 2011 - 1st place poster award at the School of Earth Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences postgraduate conference, University of Manchester
  • July 2011 - 1st place poster award at the British Organic Geochemistry meeting at the University of Swansea