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Eric Paterson

Staff picture: Eric Paterson
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Root Physiologist / Biochemist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Eric is a soil microbiologist/ plant physiologist who has researched plant-soil interactions for more than 15 years. A theme of this research has been the impact of rhizodeposition (release of organic compounds from plant roots) on soil microbial communities and processes. This research has been applied across a range of land uses from agriculture to unmanaged systems. His research has been supported by Scottish Government, BBSRC, NERC, TEAGASC, British Council, INRA, Catalan Government and industrial partners. He has served as a Research Unit assessor for DFG (Germany) and as a PhD/MSc examiner in the UK, France and Denmark. He is a member of the British Society of Soil Science and is a Subject Editor for both Soil Biology & Biochemistry and Plant & Soil.

Current research interests

The research group has recently developed novel methodologies for continuous, steady-state 13CO2-labelling of plants that enable quantification of plant-derived C-fluxes to soil and to the various components of the soil biota (e.g. via compound-specific 13C-analysis of PLFA biomarkers). A key advantage of the continuous labelling approach is that isotopic mass balance can be applied to quantify turnover of soil organic matter in intact systems (i.e. including plants), such that the biological controls of soil organic matter mineralisation can be studied. A current research priority of the group is to investigate the interactions between plant-derived C-fluxes to soil and microbially mediated turnover of native soil organic matter. These interactions are being studied in the contexts of:

  1. the responses of soils to land use and environmental change (e.g. potential feedbacks to GHG-mediated climate forcing), and
  2. the sustainable productivity of agricultural systems (e.g. understanding the controls of productivity in low-input systems and optimising the use of organic amendments as fertiliser replacements).



  • Paterson, E.; Kemp, J.S.; Gammack, S.M.; FitzPatrick, .A.; Cresser, M.S.; Mullins, C.E.; Killham, K. (1993) The movemnet of genetically modified bacteria through soil influence of soil type., Biology and Fertility of Soils, 15, 308-314.
  • Kemp, J.S.; Paterson, E.; Gammack, S.M.; Killham, K.; Cresser, M.S. (1992) Leaching of genetically modified Pseudomonas fluorescens through organic soils influence of temperature, soil pH, and roots., Biology and Fertility of Soils, 13, 218-224.

  • Paterson, E.; Mwafulirwa, L. (2021) Root-soil-microbe interactions mediating nutrient fluxes in the rhizosphere., In: Gupta, W.S.R. & Sharma, A.K. (eds.). Rhizosphere Biology: Interactions between Microbes and Plants. Springer, Singapore, pp75-91.
  • Paterson, E. (2013) The use of stable isotope labelling and compound-specific analysis of microbial phospholipid fatty acids to quantify the influences of rhizodeposition on microbial community structure and function., In: de Bruijn, F.J. (ed.). Molecular Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, New Jersey. Volume 1, pp141-148.
  • Balesdent, J.; Ciavatta, C.; Dennis, P.; Finlay, R.; Gessa, C.E.; Gioacchini, P.; Hacin, J.; Hodge, A.; Jones, D.; Killham, K.; Kuzyakov, Y.; Lecomte, A.; Minchin, P.E.H.; Nguyen, C.; Paterson, E.; Robin, C.; Schweizer, P.; Standing, D. (2007) Element cycling and organic matter turnover., In: Luster, J.F.R. (ed.). Handbook of Methods Used in Rhizosphere Research. Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, 333-359. ISBN: 3-905621-35-5
  • Paterson, E.; Rattray, E.A.S.; Killham, K. (1995) Rhizosphere ecophysiology., The Encyclopaedia of Environmental Biology, 3, pp237-245. Academic Press, New York.

  • Brooker, R.; Paterson E.; Glendell, M.; Ellis, C.; Eastwood, A.; Fraser, F.; Wilkinson, M.; Skuce, P.; Macleod, C.; Carvalho, L.; Fischer, A.; Comerford, D.; Holland, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; McVittie, A. (2017) Report on natural assets theme science day, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, 2 October 2017., Theme 1 Web pages, 6pp.
  • Owen, J.; Paterson, E. (2012) Preliminary report on the suitability of `Struvite? as a soil conditioner/fertiliser to sustain the growth of barley and ryegrass., Report for William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd.
  • Patersaon, E.; Owen, J. (2012) Report on chemical analysis and seed germination trials on soil samples from prospective football pitch., Report for Raeburn Drilling
  • Paterson, E.; Owen, J. (2011) Report on the analysis of crushed granite sample for elemental concentration, aqueous extractable elements, and C and N, Total C and N, extractable nitrate, loss on ignition, particle size distribution and ecotoxicity., Report for Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd.
  • Paterson, E.; Campbell, C.D.; Coull, M.C.; Shand, C.A. (2011) Geochemical atlas for Scottish topsoils., The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, 43pp.ISBN 978-0-902701-007
  • Paterson, E. (2010) Copper in soils: potential impacts of distillery co-product applications to land., Report for Helius Energy PLC.
  • Owen, J.; Paterson, E. (2010) Report on drill cuttings for leachable and total elemental composition, particle size distribution and initial biological testing., Report for Chevron Energy Technology Company.
  • Paterson, E. (2009) Pot trials of soil conditioner formulations., Report for Helius Energy plc.

Scientific posters/conferences

Printed from /staff/eric-paterson on 19/09/21 06:42:16 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.