Prof. Dr. Anton Hartmann
Prof. Dr. Anton Hartmann studied biochemistry at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and finished his PhD-thesis “Mechanisms of siderophore iron uptake in Escherichia coli” in 1979 at the chair of Microbiology (Prof. Dr. V. Braun) at Tübingen University. Prof. Hartmann was then associate researcher at the chair of Genetics at University of Bayreuth (Prof. Dr. W. Klingmüller), Germany, and the Department of Biochemistry (Prof. R.H. Burris), University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, studying nitrogen fixation and nitrogenase regulation of Azospirillum spp. In 1990, Prof. Hartmann joined the GSF-National Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany (now: Helmholtz Zentrum München), where he was deputy director of the Institute of Soil Ecology and head of the research units of “Rhizosphere Biology” and “Microbe-Plant Interactions”. Since April 2015, Prof. Hartmann retired from his official duties at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. At Ludwig-Maximilian-University München he is teaching microbial ecology and prokaryote-eukaryote interactions.
In the center of his scientific activities are the interactions of microbes with their environment and especially plants; recently, collaborations were initiated on probiotic interactions with the human immune system. In general, his research activities centered on plant growth promotion with special feature on diazotrophic bacteria like Azospirillum, Herbaspirillum and Burkholderia and also on aspects of biological control of plant pathogens. In national and international cooperation, a series of new rhizosphere bacterial species could be isolated and described, including salt-tolerant bacteria, which foster growth of plants under saline or water deficient conditions. A special topic is concerned with the specific localization of bacteria in the plant environment (rhizoplane, apoplast) using specific fluorescent labelling techniques, fluorescent in situ hybridization and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The quorum sensing response of Gram-negative bacteria, especially the autoinducers of the N-acyl homoserine lactone type and their specific perception by plants towards priming of immune response and hormonal and morphologic adaptions are current research topics. The ultimate goal of Prof. Hartmann`s research efforts is the practical application of rhizosphere microbes to support plant growth and to improve their fitness towards biotic and abiotic stresses. The optimization of the interaction and colonization properties of selected rhizosphere bacteria are important steps towards this goal.
Prof. Hartmann organized together with Munich colleagues the first International Rhizosphere Conference in Munich in September 2004, and the European Nitrogen Fixation Conference and the BNF Non-Legume Symposium in September 2012 in Munich. In 2007, Prof. Hartmann together with colleagues of the Helmholtz Zentrum München won the Erwin Schrödinger Prize for interdisciplinary cooperation of the German Science Community.
As by November 2015, Prof. Anton Hartmann published 173 original research works in peer-reviewed journals and 48 book chapters. As indicator of his scientific productivity, the H-factor of 37 is calculated for Prof. Hartmann.