Markus Kleber
Associate Professor, Soil and Environmental Geochemistry

Current Work Focus: The processes at the interface between organic matter and mineral surfaces, including mineral surface properties, organic matter properties, bonding mechanisms, adsorption processes, mineral-microbial interactions, and organic matter turnover dynamics.

OSU Campus
Department of Crop and Soil Science
3067 Ag & Life Sciences Bldg
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States
(541) 737-5718



  • The role of protein-mineral interactions for protein oxidation and hydrolysis. EMSL Science Theme Proposal/ Departmental support. Graduate Student: Stephany Chacon (PhD)
  • Spatial variation in microbial processes controlling carbon mineralization within soils and sediments. DOE-TES. Lead PI: Scott Fendorf, Stanford University, Co-PI: Peter S. Nico, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Graduate Student: Tom Wanzek (MSc)
  • Organic carbon accumulation in Oxisols. Laspau. Graduate Student: Pedro Henrique Rodrigues de Moraes Martinez,  (PhD)
  • Solidifying the Oregon Soil Health Assessment. NRCS. Lab Manager: Shannon Andrews. Faculty Research Assistant: Gloria Ambrowiak.



SOIL 388 Soil Systems and Plant Growth (Ecampus, Fall Term, with Adam Lindsley)

Introduces soils as providers of critical resources for plant growth. Explains how soils supply water, air, thermal energy and nutrients to plants. Shows that sustainable management of soil resources requires substantial understanding of their role in the functioning of natural, forest, and agricultural systems. Explains controls on stocks and availabilities of individual soil resources and mechanisms making these resources plant-available.

SOIL 525  Mineral-organic interactions (Winter Term)

Treats soil as the interface between organic and mineral components. Introduces molecular scale properties of major system components (mineral types and forms of soil organic matter). Shows how interactions between minerals and organics determine the special nature of the soil "bioreactor". Course is focused on biogeochemical processes that determine soil organic matter turnover.

SOIL 599/512   Soil analysis (Field Excursion, Summer Term, with Shannon Andrews)

Demonstration of soil management challenges in agroecosystems, soil resource assessments for the major soil orders used for the production of field and horticultural crops in Oregon; demonstration of soil sampling techniques.  Individual and group activities; discussion of the decision-making process for soil resource assessments.  5 day duration with three - four overnight stays on campgrounds. A field trip fee will be charged.

SOIL 599/513 Soil analysis (Laboratory, Summer Term, with Shannon Andrews)

Provide the theoretical background as well as practical experience needed to plan, select, execute and interpret the soil chemical and physical analyses used for nutrient management recommendations. Individual and group activities; involves classroom presentations as well as hands – on work in a teaching laboratory. Samples processed are those collected in the course of preceding Field Course SOIL 599/512. Duration  five (5) full work days. A lab fee will be charged.





2004-  Habilitation  Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
1997-  Dr. sc. agr.  University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
1992-  Diplom-Agrarbiologe  University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany

Professional Experience:

2012 – Associate Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University
2006 - 2012  Assistant Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University
2005-2006 Geological Scientist, Earth Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
2004-   Scientist, Institute of Soil Landscape Research, Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research, Müncheberg, Germany
1998-2004-   Research Associate, Institute for Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany


Journal Articles

Andersen, A., Reardon, P., Chacon, S. S., Quafoku, N., Washton, N. and M. Kleber. 2016. Protein-mineral interactions: molecular dynamics simulations capture importance of variations in mineral surface composition and structure. Langmuir, 32:6194-6209. 

Reardon, P.N., Chacon, S.S., Walter, E. D., Washton, N. M. and M. Kleber. 2016. Abiotic protein fragmentation by manganese oxide: a mechanism to supply soil biota with oligopeptides. Environmental Science and Technology 50:3486–3493.

Keiluweit, M., Nico, P. S., Kleber, M. and S. Fendorf. 2016. Are Oxygen Limitations an Under Recognized Regulator of Organic Matter Turnover in Upland Soils? Biogeochemistry Letters 127:157-171.

Sommer, M., J. Augustin, and M. Kleber. 2016. Feedbacks of soil erosion on SOC patterns and carbon dynamics in agricultural landscapes - The CarboZALF experiment. Soil and Tillage Research, 156:182-184.

Lehmann, J. and M. Kleber. 2015. The contentious nature of soil organic matter. Nature, 528(7580), 60-68.

Keiluweit, M., Nico, P.S., Harmon, M., Mao, J., Pett-Ridge, J. and M Kleber. 2015. Long-term Litter Decomposition Controlled by Manganese Redox Cycling, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 112(38): E5253-E5260.

Keiluweit, M., J. J. Bougoure, P. S. Nico, J. Pett-Ridge, P. K. Weber, and M. Kleber. 2015, Mineral protection of soil carbon counteracted by root exudates, Nature Climate Change, 5(6), 588-595.

Kleber, M., Eusterhues, K., Keiluweit, M., Mikutta, C., Mikutta, R. and P. S. Nico. 2015. Mineral-Organic Associations: Formation, Properties, and Relevance in Soil Environments. Advances in Agronomy, 130, 1-140.

Wiedemeier, D.B., Abiven, S., Hockaday, W. C., Keiluweit, M., Kleber, M., Masiello, C. A., McBeath, A. V., Nico, P. S., Pyle, L. A., Schneider, M. P. W., Smernik, R. J., Wiesenberg, G.L.B. and M.W.I. Schmidt. 2015. Aromaticity and the degree of aromatic condensation of chars. Organic Geochemistry, 78, 135-143.

Kaiser, M., Kleber, M. and A.A. Berhe. 2015. How air-drying and rewetting modify soil organic matter characteristics: an assessment to improve data interpretation and inference. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 80, 324-340.

Kaiser, M., Ghezzehei, T. A., Kleber, M., Myrold, D. D., and Berhe, A. A. (2014). Influence of Calcium Carbonate and Charcoal Applications on Organic Matter Storage in Silt-Sized Aggregates Formed during a Microcosm Experiment. Soil Science Society of America Journal 78, 1624-1631.

Riley, W. J., Maggi, F. M., Kleber, M., Torn, M. S., Tang, J. Y., Dwivedi, D. and N. Guerry. 2014. Long residence times of rapidly decomposable soil organic matter: application of, a multi-phase, multi-component, and vertically-resolved model (TOUGHREACTv1) to soil carbon dynamics. Geoscientific Model Development 7, 1335–1355.

Klüpfel, L., Keiluweit, M., Kleber, M. and M. Sander. 2014. Redox properties of plant biomass-derived black carbon (biochar). Environmental Science and Technology 48, (10) 5601–5611.

Gray, M., Johnson, M. G., Dragila, M. I. and M. Kleber. 2014. Water Uptake in Biochars: The Roles of Porosity and Hydrophobicity. Biomass and Bioenergy 61, 196-205.

Torn, M.; Kleber, M.; Zavaleta, E.; Zhu, B.; Field, C.; Trumbore, S., 2013. A dual isotope approach to isolate carbon pools of different turnover times. Biogeosciences, 10: 8067-8081.

Liu, S. Y.; Kleber, M.; Takahashi, L. K.; Nico, P.; Keiluweit, M.; Ahmed, M., 2013. Synchrotron-Based Mass Spectrometry to Investigate the Molecular Properties of Mineral-Organic Associations. Analytical Chemistry, 85: 6100-6106.

Müller, C. W.; Weber, P. K.; Kilburn, M. R.; Höschen, C.; Kleber, M.; Pett-Ridge, J., 2013. Advances in the Analysis of Biogeochemical Interfaces: NanoSIMS to Investigate Soil Microenvironments. Advances in Agronomy, 121: 1-46.

Berhe, A. A.; Kleber, M., 2013. Erosion, deposition, and the persistence of soil organic matter: mechanistic considerations and problems with terminology. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms,  38: 908-912.

Fulton, W.; Gray, M.; Prahl, F.; Kleber, M., 2013. A simple technique to eliminate ethylene emissions from biochar amendment in agriculture. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 33: 469-474.

Place, B. J., Kleber, M. and J. A. Field. 2013. Extraction of fullerenes from environmental matrices as affected by solvent characteristics and analyte concentration. Journal of Separation Science, 36: 953-958.

Moni, C., Derrien D., Hatton, P.-J., Zeller, B. and M. Kleber. 2012. Density Fractions versus Size Separates: Does Physical Fractionation Isolate Functional Soil Compartments? Biogeosciences, 9:5181–5197

Keiluweit, M., Bougoure, J.J., Zeglin, L.H., Myrold, D.D., Weber, P.K., Pett-Ridge, J., Kleber, M., Nico, P.S. 2012. Nano-scale Investigation of the Association of Microbial Nitrogen Residues with Iron (hydr)oxides in a Forest Soil O-horizon, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 95:213–226

Keiluweit, M., Kleber, M., Sparrow, M. A., Simoneit, B.R.T. and F. G. Prahl. 2012. Solvent-extractable Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Biochar: Influence of Pyrolysis Temperature and Feedstock. Environmental Science & Technology, 46:9333−9341.

Kaiser, M., Berhe, A.A., Sommer, M. and M. Kleber. 2012. Short communication: Application of ultrasound to disperse soil aggregates of high mechanical stability. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 175:521-526.

Sudderth, E. A., St Clair S. B., Placella, S. A., Swarbreck S. M., Castanha C. , Herman, D. J.,  Fischer, M. L., Kleber, M., Sudderth, E. B., Torn, M. S., Firestone, M. K., Andersen, G. L., Ackerly, D. D. 2012. Sensitivity of resource pools and fluxes to dry periods under low and high rain treatments on two contrasting soils. Ecosphere, 3: art70.

Sun, K., Jin, J., Keiluweit, M., Kleber, M., Wang, Z., Pan, Z., and B. Xing. 2012. Polar and Aliphatic domains regulate sorption of Phthalic Acid Esters (PAEs) to Biochars. Bioresource Technology, 118:120-127.

Berhe, A. A., Harden, J. W., Torn, M.S., Kleber, M., Burton, S. D., Harte, J. 2012. Persistence of Soil Organic Matter in Eroding vs. Depositional Landform Positions. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 117:G02019.

Remusat, L.; Hatton, P.-J., Nico, P., Zeller, B., Kleber, M., Derrien, D. 2012 NanoSIMS study of organic matter associated with soil aggregates: advantages, limitations and combination with STXM. Environmental Science & Technology 46:3943-3949.

Hatton, P.-J., Kleber, M, Zeller, B., Moni, C., Plante, A. F., Townsend, K., Gelhaye, L., Lajtha, K., Derrien, D. 2012. Transfer of litter-derived N to soil mineral-organic associations: evidence from decadal 15N tracer experiments. Organic Geochemistry, 42:1489-1501.

Sun, K., Keiluweit, M., Kleber, M., Pan, Z., and Xing, B., 2011. Sorption of fluorinated herbicides to plant biomass-derived biochars as a function of molecular structure. Bioresource Technology, 102:9897-9903

Schmidt, M.W.I., Torn, M.S., Abiven, S., Dittmar, T., Guggenberger, G., Janssens, I.A., Kleber, M., Kögel-Knabner, I., Lehmann, J., Manning, D., Nannipieri, P., Rasse, D.P., Weiner, S., Trumbore, S. 2011. Soil organic matter persistence as an ecosystem property. Nature, 478: 49-56

Kleber, M, Nico, P. S., Plante, A., Filley, T., Kramer M., Swanston C., and P. Sollins. 2011. Old and stable soil organic matter is not necessarily chemically recalcitrant: implications for modeling concepts and temperature sensitivity. Global Change Biology, 17:1097-1107.

Kleber, M. 2010. Response to the Opinion paper by Margit von Lützow and Ingrid Kögel Knabner on ‘What is recalcitrant soil organic matter?’ by Markus Kleber. Environmental Chemistry, 7:16-17. doi:10.1071/EN10086

Kleber, M. 2010. What is recalcitrant soil organic matter? Environmental Chemistry, 7:1–13. doi:10.1071/EN10006

Rodionov, A., W. Amelung, N. Peinemann, L. Haumaier, X. Zhang, M. Kleber, B. Glaser, I. Urusevskaya, and W. Zech. 2010. Black carbon in grassland ecosystems of the world. Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 24, GB3013, doi:10.1029/2009GB003669.

Kleber, M. and M. G. Johnson. 2010. Advances in Understanding the Molecular Structure of Soil Organic Matter: Implications for interactions in the Environment. Advances in Agronomy, 106:77-142.

Keiluweit, M., Nico, P. S., Johnson, M. G. and Kleber, M. 2010. Dynamic Molecular structure of Plant Biomass-Derived Black carbon (Biochar). Environmental Science & Technology, 44:1247-1253.  

Dohrmann, R., Rüping, K. B., Kleber, M., Ufer, K. and R. Jahn. 2009. Variation of preferred orientation in oriented clay mounts as a result of sample preparation and composition. Clays and Clay Minerals, 57:686-694.

Isaacson, C. W., Kleber, M. and J. A. Field. 2009. Quantitative Analysis of Fullerene Nanomaterials in Environmental Systems: A Critical Review. Environmental Science & Technology, 43:6463-6474.

Keiluweit, M. and M. Kleber. 2009. Molecular-level interactions in soils and sediments: The role of aromatic pi-systems. Environmental Science & Technology, 43:3421-3429. 

Bird, J. A., Kleber, M. and M. S. Torn. 2008. 13C and 15N stabilization dynamics among soil organic matter fractions during needle and fine root decomposition. Organic Geochemistry. 39:465-477

Kögel-Knabner, I., Guggenberger G., Kleber, M., Kandeler, E., Kalbitz, K., Scheu, S., Eusterhues, K. and P. Leinweber. 2008. The importance of organo-mineral associations for carbon stabilization in temperate soils: integrating organic matter chemistry, soil mineralogy and soil microbiology. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 171:61-82

Kleber, M., Sollins, P. and R. Sutton. 2007. A conceptual model of organo-mineral interactions in soils: Self-assembly of organic molecular fragments into zonal structures on mineral surfaces. Biogeochemistry 85: 9-24

Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2007. Andosols and Soils with Andic Properties in the German Soil Taxonomy. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 170:317-328

Kleber, M., Schwendenmann, L., Veldkamp, E., Rößner, J. and R. Jahn. 2007. Halloysite versus gibbsite: silicon cycling as a pedogenetic process in two lowland neotropical rain forest soils of La Selva, Costa Rica. Geoderma. 138: 1-11

Sollins P, Swanston C, Kleber M, Filley T, Kramer M, Crow S, Caldwell BA, Lajtha K, and Bowden R (2006) Organic C and N stabilization in a forest soil: Evidence from sequential density fractionation. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 38: 3313-3324

Mikutta R., Kleber M., Torn M. and Jahn R. 2006. Stabilization of Soil Organic Matter: Association with Minerals or Chemical Recalcitrance? Biogeochemistry 77: 25-56

Kleber, M, Mikutta, R., Torn, M. S., and R. Jahn. 2005. Poorly cystalline mineral phases protect organic matter in acid subsoil horizons. European Journal of Soil Science, 56: 717-725.

Mertz, C., Kleber, M., and R. Jahn. 2005. Soil organic matter dynamics in clay subfractions from a time series of fertilizer deprivation. Organic Geochemistry, 36: 1311-1322.

Siregar, A., Kleber, M., Mikutta R. and R. Jahn. 2005. Sodium hypochlorite oxidation reduces soil organic matter concentrations without affecting inorganic soil constituents. European Journal of Soil Science, 56: 481-490.

Mikutta, R., Kleber, M and R. Jahn. 2005. Poorly crystalline minerals determine concentrations of stable organic carbon in clay subfractions from acid subsoil horizons. Geoderma, 128: 106-115.

Mikutta, R., Kleber, M., Kaiser K., and R. Jahn. 2005. Removal of Organic Matter from Soils using Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite and Disodium Peroxodisulfate - a Review. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 69:120-135.

Kleber, M., Mertz, C., Zikeli, S., Knicker, H. and R. Jahn. 2004. Changes in surface reactivity and organic matter composition of clay subfractions from a time series of fertilizer deprivation. European Journal of Soil Science, 55: 381-391.

Kleber, M., Mikutta, C. and R. Jahn. 2004. Andosols in Germany - pedogenesis and properties. Catena,56: 67-83.

Sommer, M., Fiedler, S., Glatzel, S. and M. Kleber. 2004. First estimates of regional (Allgäu, Germany) and global CH4 fluxes from wet colluvial margins of closed depressions in glacial drift areas. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 103:251-257.

Kahle, M., Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2004. Retention of dissolved organic matter by phyllosilicate and soil clay fractions in relation to mineral properties. Organic Geochemistry, 35:269-276.

Kahle, M., Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2003. Retention of dissolved organic matter by illitic soils and clay fractions: Influence of mineral phase variables. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 166: 737-741.

Eusterhues, K., Rumpel, C., Kleber, M. and I. Kögel-Knabner. 2003. Interactions of an old soil organic matter pool with the mineral matrix - analysed by demineralisation and oxidation with disodium roxodisulphate. Organic Geochemistry, 34:1591-1600.

Kahle, M. Kleber, M., Torn, M. and R. Jahn. 2003. Carbon storage in coarse and fine clay fractions of illitic soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 67:1732-1739.

Grabe, M., Kleber, M., Hartmann, K.-J. and R. Jahn. 2003. Preparing a soil carbon inventory of Saxony-Anhalt, Central Germany using GIS and the state soil data base SABO-P. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 166:642-648.

Kleber, M., Zikeli, S., Kastler, M. and R. Jahn. 2003. An Andosol from Eastern Saxony, Germany. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 166:533-542.

Kleber, M., J. Rößner, C. Chenu, B. Glaser, H. Knicker and R. Jahn. 2003. Prehistoric Alteration of Soil Properties in a Central German Chernozemic Soil: in Search of Pedologic Indicators for Prehistoric Activity. Soil Science, 168:292-306.

Fiedler, S., Scholich, G., and M. Kleber. 2003. Construction and evaluation of a redox electrode with a summing operational amplifier - application in the study of methane emissions. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 34:481-496.

Fiedler, S., Jungkunst, H. P. F., Jahn, R., Kleber, M., Sommer, M. and K. Stahr. 2002. Linking soil classification and soil dynamics - pedological and ecological perspectives. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science. 165:517-529.

Kahle, M., Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2002. XRD-based quantitative analysis of clay minerals in soils: the suitability of Mineral Intensity Factors. Geoderma. 109:191-205.

Kahle, M., Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2002. Predicting carbon content in illitic clay fractions from surface area, cation exchange capacity and dithionite-extractable iron. European Journal of Soil Science. 53:639-644.

Kahle, M., Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2002. Carbon storage in loess derived surface soils from Central Germany: Influence of mineral phase parameters. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science. 165:141-150.

Kleber, M., Niklaus, P., Kuzyakov, Y. and K. Stahr. 2000. Formation of mineral N (NH4+, NO3-) during mineralization of organic matter from coal refuse material and municipal sludge. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde. 163:73-80.

Friedel, J. K., Herrmann, A. and M. Kleber. 2000. Ion exchange resin - soil mixtures as a tool in net nitrogen mineralisation studies. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 32:1529-1536.

Kleber, M., Hong, J.-P. and K. Stahr. 1998. Microbial biomass C- and N-dynamics in grassland soils amended with liquid manure. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde. 161:87-92.

Kleber, M. and K. Stahr. 1997. Soil carbon balance in intensively managed, humid grasslands. Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft für Ökologie. 27:117-126.


Book Chapters

Markus Kleber, William Hockaday and Peter S. Nico 2015. Characteristics of Biochar: Macro-Molecular Properties. In: Biochar for Environmental Management: Science, Technology and Implementation, Second Edition. Johannes Lehmann and Stephen Joseph, Eds. Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4RN, United Kingdom

Johannes Lehmann, Samuel Abiven, Markus Kleber, Genxing Pan, BP Singh, Saran Sohi and Andy Zimmerman. 2015. Persistence of Biochar in Soil. In: Biochar for Environmental Management:  Science, Technology and Implementation, Second Edition. Johannes Lehmann and Stephen Joseph, Eds. Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4RN, United Kingdom

Kögel-Knabner, I. and M. Kleber. 2011. Mineralogical, physicochemical and microbiological controls on soil organic matter stabilization and turnover. Chapter 7. In: Handbook of Soil Science. Resource Management and Environmental Impacts, Second Edition. Pan Ming Huang, Yuncong Li , and Malcolm E. Sumner, Eds. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl. Print ISBN: 978-1-4398-0307-3; eBook ISBN: 978-1-4398-0308-0.

Kleber, M. and R. Jahn. 2007. Soils of volcanic regions of Germany. pp. 13-23. In: Soils of Volcanic Regions in Europe. Arnalds, Ó.; Bartoli, F.; Buurman, P.; Óskarsson, H.; Stoops, G.; García-Rodeja, E. (Eds.), XXVI, 644 p., 169 illus., Hardcover. Springer, ISBN: 978-3-540-48710-4

Monteiro, F., Kleber, M., Fonseca, M., Madeira, M. and R. Jahn. 2007. Crystalline clay constituents of soils from European volcanic systems. pp. 181-195 In: Soils of volcanic regions in Europe. Arnalds, Ó.; Bartoli, F.; Buurman, P.; Óskarsson, H.; Stoops, G.; García-Rodeja, E. (Eds.), XXVI, 644 p., 169 illus., Hardcover. Springer, ISBN: 978-3-540-48710-4 Kleber.