Jana Zinkernagel

Prof. Dr. Jana Zinkernagel

Function: Head of Institute
Organizational Unit(s):Department of Vegetable CropsProfessorship for Vegetable Crops
Phone: über +49 6722 502 511
eMail: Jana.Zinkernagel(at)hs-gm.de
Postal Address:Von-Lade-Straße 1
D-65366 Geisenheim
Address: Building 1000
Room 102
Von-Lade-Straße 2
65366 Geisenheim

Jana Zinkernagel holds a degree in horticultural sciences from the Technical University of Munich, Weihenstephan, with a focus on secondary metabolites. At the chair of Phytopathology, TUM, and at the Institute for Plant Production and Plant Breeding, LfL, she was working on Phytophthora infection of seed potatoes. In 2008, she obtained a PhD from the University of Gießen on the hydrophysiology of asparagus. This was followed by two years working as a scientist and deputy head of the Department of Vegetable Crops at the Geisenheim Research Centre. During this period, she spent a research stay at the INRA-Institute U.M.R. PIAF in Clermont-Ferrand working on plant hydraulic conductivity. Since December 2010, she is heading the Department of Vegetable Crops and is holding a professorship for Vegetable Crops at the Geisenheim University. Jana Zinkernagel is a board member of the German Horticultural Society, co-coordinator of the European Vegetable Research Institutes Network, Working Group Fertilization and Irrigation, member of the Board of Trustees of the agricultural and horticultural consulting field of the HMUKLV, and member of the Hessian EIP Agri advisitory committee, et al. She is also a reviewer for research foundations and scientific journals.

Research Projects

Project start: 01.05.2024
Project end: 30.04.2027
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

The diversification of cropping systems supports sustainability, climate resilience and ecosystem services, and will be considered in the context of Precision Agriculture in NSmartSystems. Various methods and open-source tools will be developed to optimally combine diversification and precision fertiliser management, enabling farmers to improve their profitability and reduce negative environmental impact. The specific objectives of the NSmartSystems project are: (1) Development of decision support systems (DSS) for the diversification of cropping systems through crop rotation and the intelligent use of catch crops. (2) Improved decision making for variable rate N fertilisation through user-centered, multi-parametric tools. (3) Optimisation of in-field variable rate N application through improved coordination of the application system and spreade. (4) Develop tools for farmers to analyse and monitor the impact of their management decisions over time.

Project start: 15.09.2023
Project end: 14.09.2026
Sponsor: Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V.

In the project UpgoeS, it will be tested whether organo-mineral (OM) substrate residues from hydroponic tomato cultivation can be upcycled and used as alternative fertilizers, for soil improvement and for yield and quality increases for outdoor vegetable cultivation at two geologically and climatically different locations (Berlin and Geisenheim). The organic fraction (wood fiber substrate) originates as residual material in a sawmill, whereas the mineral fraction are nutrient ions that accumulate in the wood fiber substrates during the cultivation period. The incorporation of OM substrate residues into field plots is expected to provide baseline knowledge on the resulting changes in physical soil properties, particularly air and water holding capacity, and reduced nitrogen leaching to groundwater. It is expected that the nitrate retention time will be increased and the water storage capacity will increase at the same time. Thus, both the drought stress tolerance of the soil in the era of climate change might be increased and the conventional fertilizer application and drinking water pollution due to nitrogen inputs should be reduced. This could imply a large savings potential in terms of production-related energy input for fertilizer production and CO2 emissions. In addition, the reuse of OM substrate residues can reduce the amount of growing media requiring disposal, thus improving the circular economy. Thus, biological resources are used that can be upcycled and used in cascades. Guidelines for the processing and proper use of OM substrate residues from hydroponic vegetable cultivation are to be developed with the involvement of decision-makers for outdoor vegetable cultivation, so that the use of raw materials with regard to both types of cultivation is more resource-conserving and sustainable.

Project start: 01.03.2022
Project end: 28.02.2025
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Meeting the 1.5°C and also the 2.0°C target requires not only a rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, but also - in addition - a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere (so-called Carbon Dioxide Removal, CDR). There are four terrestrial CDR methods that can be rapidly implemented, each of which supports a range of sustainable development goals (such as food security and a clean environment): (1) pyrogenic carbon sequestration (plant carbon), (2) enhanced weathering (EW), (3) soil organic carbon (SOC), and (4) biomass carbon capture (BCC), for example through the use of agroforestry systems. However, in order to maximise carbon sequestration (per area), the synergies of these methods must also be investigated and understood. So far, this has almost exclusively been studied separately - the potential synergies are part of our PyMiCCS project goals. Vegetable charcoal and volcanic rock flour for EW not only sequester carbon in soils, but also balance soil pH and redox potential, provide nutrients, improve soil hydrology and promote soil biodiversity, root growth, crop yields and thus BCC. If theoretically two tonnes of plant charcoal-based fertiliser and one tonne of volcanic rock dust were applied per hectare annually, carbon sinks would be of 5.4 t CO2eq would be created - without any synergies on SOC and BCC. Scaled up to 50% of the world's agricultural land, this would be 13 Gt CO2eq with improved food and feed productivity. feed. In a wide range of iterative experiments and analyses from laboratory from laboratory to field scale, with and without soils and plants, we are generating data to for the parameterisation of global models for C-sink potential analyses and for the evaluation of economic feasibility.

Project start: 01.02.2022
Project end: 30.09.2025
Sponsor: Hessisches Ministerium für Landwirtschaft und Umwelt, Weinbau, Forsten, Jagd und Heimat

The transdisciplinary consortium of science, practice and exchange service addresses practice-oriented questions of organic vegetable productionin 3-year yield experiments. The topics result from preceding workshops with organic vegetable farmers in Hesse. The most urgent topics are studied both at farm level and at the research site of Geisenheim University to derive practical measures to overcome the faced issues. Findings will be disseminated jointly to the practice. Drought has been identified as the most pressing issue for organic vegetable farmers. Particulary in vegetable crop cultivation, drought may cause not only yield reduction but also to total losses due to quality deficits. Extreme heat and drought events may be counteracted by increasing the water storage capacity and infiltration rate of the cultivated soil. Soils that are capable to store more water require less frequent irrigation and can handle larger irrigation quantities, thus reducing evaporative losses. In context of climate change, improved infiltration rate can reduce runoff losses caused by heavy rainfall and ultimately replenishes the soil water storage. Practical measures that support elevating water storage capacity and infiltration rate of farmer's soils can therefore improve soil water uptake and water availability to crops. We aim to achieve this by enriching the soil with organic matter. In our trials, we are testing different composts to improve soil water relations considering farm specific soil and crop management. The agromomic effect of the treatments is used to evaluate the measures. In addition, participating farmers are testing further treatments that combine compost with biochar, fertilizers or ground covers to pursue farm-specific interests for sustainable and climateresilient crop production. In this way, we aim to achieve the overall goal of increasing the resilience of the cropping system and stabilizing yields, so that organically farmed areas can be expanded.

Hochschule Geisenheim
© https://www.pfn-hessen.de/portfolio-item/projekt-oekoboden4resilienz/

Project start: 01.02.2020
Project end: 31.05.2023
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

The decision support system GeoSenSys is designed as a GIS-based web application for open field vegetable production to support the user by providing coupled recommendations for site-specific irrigation and nitrogen (N) fertilization. The objective of the project is to develop an Artificial Neuronal Network for Irrigation (ANNI) based on spectral reflectance of the model crop spinach and measured soil, plant and environmental parameters of georeferenced fields. Irrigation demand is derived by combining crop water balance with Geisenheim Irrigation Scheduling, plant parameters and spectral vegetation indices. Scientific verification of the modeled water demand is then performed by measuring current evapotranspiration using eddy covariance analyses. To enable the coupling of irrigation and N fertilization decisions, a N-mineralization model is developed and linked to the irrigation model. This results in simple decision making for cultivation management in vegetable production. Through the small-scale assessment of irrigation and N fertilization demand, this project contributes to resource-efficient and sustainable vegetable production.

Hochschule Geisenheim
© © MSc. Samantha Rubo

Project start: 01.04.2016
Project end: 31.03.2019
Sponsor: European Commission, Hessisches Ministerium für Landwirtschaft und Umwelt, Weinbau, Forsten, Jagd und Heimat

Yellow Wilting has been a problem in cultivation of corn salad for many years. Many abiotic and biotic factors have been excluded as causes. Yet, respective organisms and control measures are not identified. The project within the framework of EIP Agri aims at identifying the cause of Yellow Wilting with the help of metagenomic and metabolomic analyses and developing effective control strategies. Initial results show that solarization as soil disinfestation is efficient in inhibiting Yellow Wilting.

Project start: 01.01.2016
Project end: 31.12.2018
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Within the project GSEHEN, the Department for Vegetable Crops of the Geisenheim University develops a practically applicable FOSS implementation of an irrigation decision support system based on the Geisenheim Irrigation Scheduling (GS). The major goals of this project are the theoretical quality assurance of GS parameters, and the formulation of prerequisites for a practically and scientifically sound implementation of GS in the software. The theoretical proof of GS parameters is lead via experiments using the eddy covariance technique. With this meteorological method possible differences between estimated and actually measured evapotranspiration of plant canopy in open field can be assessed. For a sound software implementation of GS, the main tasks are the aggregation and publication of GS parameters in the form of an openly available online database as well as the documentation and implementation of the algorithms and parameters needed for software based realization of GS. The software and documentations will be publicized under an open source license. This is to guide and promote high-quality implementations of GS in any kind of software which match the general scientific claim. With this, the project GSEHEN secures the practical application and scientific foundation of GS for future operation.

Project start: 01.01.2016
Project end: 31.12.2017
Sponsor: Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts

The influence of CO2 concentration and nitrogen form on two varieties of rucola (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) is investigated in climatic chambers. Plant physiological parameters, yield and valuable compounds are analyzed.

Project start: 01.01.2014
Project end: 31.12.2017
Sponsor: Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts

Within the FACE2FACE experiment the effects of climate change on agricultural ecosystems such as grassland and specialized crops are investigated. For the cultivation of specialized crops, particular emphasis is placed on plant physiology as well as ingredient composition of harvested material. In the subproject “AP 3.1 Ingredients & product quality – vegetables” the effects of elevated CO2 in interaction with reduced water supply on ingredient composition of spinach, radish and cucumber are investigated.

Project start: 01.01.2012
Project end: 31.12.2015
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

In the context of the project “GS-Mobil”, promoted by the German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE), the Geisenheim Institute of vegetable crops develops, in cooperation with the German Weather Service (DWD) and Helm-Software, an updated version of the Geisenheim Irrigation Scheduling for vegetable crops. Currently the Geisenheim Irrigation Scheduling is balancing plant and soil water use, irrigation and rain fall, to recommend irrigation events. Therefore the user needs to continuously put culture specific data in this system. GS-Mobil aims to minimize the need of user supplied input, hence, to model the water needs of the plants in context of their growth and development depending on the weather conditions. This model is going to be the heart of a mobile app programmed by helm-software, which is supplied with weather data from the German Weather Service. The app will provide reliable irrigation recommendations to vegetable producers all over Germany. With this project the vegetable irrigation will become more user friendly, resource efficient and over all: mobile.

Project start: 01.01.2012
Project end: 31.12.2016
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Improved methods of irrigation and irrigation scheduling in open-field vegetable production may help to ensure the efficient use of water, energy and labour, high product qualities and quantities. Twelve vegetable farms in two German growing regions with high irrigation demand were intensively advised to improve the efficiency of irrigation and its demand for energy. Regional workshops for interested farmers multiple and publish the experiences of the farmers involved in the pilot project.

Project start: 01.01.2011
Project end: 31.01.2015
Sponsor: Hessian Centre on Climate Change

The future climate impact on climatic water balance and dynamics of plant nutrients are evaluated for the vegetable production in the region "Hessisches Ried" in Hesse, Germany. Regional climate models WETTREG, REMO and CCLM, driven by global climate models ECHAM5 and HadCM3 under scenario A1B, are assessed to evaluate potential ranges of changes in climatic water balance. The impact of climate change on nitrate leaching is investigated via experiments in lysimeters.

Project start: 01.01.2011
Project end: 31.12.2015
Sponsor: Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen

"Yellow Wilting" is a severe problem in the production of corn salad (Valerianella locusta). The symptoms are yellow, chlorotic and limp leaves. Affected plants are not marketable any more. Previous experiments have pointed to the fact that plant pathogens might be involved. The microbiocoenosis in soils with symptomatic and asymptomatic plants shall be investigated, using experiments in green house and climate chambers.