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Fiona Brennan

Research Officer - Soil & Environmental Microbiology

Research Interests

  • Soil and plant microbiomes
  • Impacts of agricultural practice on soil health and ecosystem functioning
  • Microbial-Soil-Plant interactions
  • Microbial cycling of nutrients in agronomic systems
  • Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Enteropathogens in the environment
  • Soil persistent E. coli

Research group details


Fiona completed a BSc in Environmental Biology (University College Dublin) and a PhD in Microbiology (NUI Galway) prior to holding postdoctoral research positions within Teagasc and INRA (The French National Institute for Agricultural Research). Prior to her current appointment she was a lecturer in Microbiology in NUI Galway and a research scientist in the James Hutton Institute, Scotland. She is currently an associate editor with the European journal of Soil Science and on the editorial board of the European Journal of Soil Biology.


A full list of publications are avaiable on:
google scholar

Zurovec O, Wall D, Brennan F.P, Krol DJ, Forrestal P, Richards K. Increasing soil pH reduces fertiliser derived N2O emissions in intensively managed temperate grassland. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 2021;311:107319.

Waters N, Abram F, Brennan F, Holmes A, Pritchard L. Easily phylotyping E. coli via the EzClermont web app and command-line tool. Access Microbiology. 2020:DOI 10.1099/acmi.0.000143.

Randall KC, Brennan F, Clipson N, Creamer RE, Griffiths BS, Storey S, et al. An Assessment of Climate Induced Increase in Soil Water Availability for Soil Bacterial Communities Exposed to Long-Term Differential Phosphorus Fertilization. Frontiers in microbiology. 2020;11:682-.

O'Neill RM, Girkin NT, Krol DJ, Wall DP, Brennan FP, Lanigan GJ, et al. The effect of carbon availability on N2O emissions is moderated by soil phosphorus. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2020;142:107726.

Merget B, Dobrindt U, Forbes KJ, Strachan NJC, Brennan F, Holden NJ. Variability in growth responses of non-O157 EHEC isolates in leafy vegetables, sprouted seeds and soil extracts occurs at the isolate level. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 2020;367.

Masters-Clark E, Shone E, Paradelo M, Hirsch PR, Clark IM, Otten W, et al. Development of a defined compost system for the study of plant-microbe interactions. Scientific Reports. 2020;10:7521.

Dundore-Arias JP, Eloe-Fadrosh EA, Schriml LM, Beattie GA, Brennan FP, Busby PE, et al. Community-driven Metadata Standards for Agricultural Microbiome Research. Phytobiomes Journal. 2020:https://doi.org/10.1094/PBIOMES-09-19-0051-P.

des Roseaux MD, Shi S, Duff AM, Brennan FP, Condron L, Finn JA, et al. Impacts of pasture species and ruminant urine on N2O emissions and nitrogen transforming microbial communities in soil mesocosms. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research. 2020:1-21.

Tyrrell C, Burgess C, Brennan FP, Walsh F. Antibiotic resistance in grass and soil. Biochemical Society Transactions. 2019:1-10.

Thorn CE, Bergesch C, Joyce A, Sambrano G, McDonnell K, Brennan F, et al. A robust, cost‐effective method for DNA, RNA and protein co‐extraction from soil, other complex microbiomes, and pure cultures. Molecular Ecology Resources. 2019;19:439-55.

Randall K, Brennan F, Clipson N, Creamer R, Griffiths B, Storey S, et al. Soil bacterial community structure and functional responses across a long-term mineral phosphorus (Pi) fertilisation gradient differ in grazed and cut grasslands. Applied Soil Ecology. 2019;138:134-43.

Merget B, Forbes K, Brennan FP, McAteer S, Shepherd T, Strachan N, et al. The influence of plant species, tissue type and temperature on the capacity of Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli to colonise, grow and internalise into plants. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2019;85:e00123-19.

Machado-Moreira B, Richards K, Brennan F, Abram F, Burgess C. Microbial Contamination of Fresh Produce: What, Where, and How? Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety. 2019;18:1727 -50.

Somorin Y, Vollmerhausen T, Waters N, Pritchard L, Abram F, Brennan F, et al. Absence of Curli in Soil-Persistent Escherichia coli is Mediated by a C-di-GMP Signalling Defect and suggests Evidence of Biofilm Independent Niche Specialisation. Frontiers in Microbiology 2018 9:1340.

Waters NR, Abram F, Brennan F, Holmes A, Pritchard L. riboSeed: leveraging prokaryotic genomic architecture to assemble across ribosomal regions. Nucleic Acids Research. 2018;46:e68.

Nolan S, Waters NR, Brennan F, Auer A, Fenton O, Richards K, et al. Toward Assessing Farm-Based Anaerobic Digestate Public Health Risks: Comparative Investigation With Slurry, Effect of Pasteurization Treatments, and Use of Miniature Bioreactors as Proxies for Pathogen Spiking Trials. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 2018 2018-July-20;2.