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EU-funded research collaboration on use of bio-effectors in agriculture launched

First kick-off meeting at University of Hohenheim from October 10 - 12, 2012.

"Resource Preservation by Application of BIOefFECTORs in European Crop Production" (BIOFECTOR) is a unique project in European Union's 7th Framework Programme, bringing together top scientists from academic institutions and small and medium enterprises with a wide range of topic expertise. The Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) is one of the partners.

An international consortium of scientists, led by the University of Hohenheim, Germany, has launched a large, EU-funded, integrated project for the development of alternative fertilization strategies by the use of so-called "bio-effectors".

Meeting the increasing food demand of a growing world population in face of limited available area of productive agricultural land is one of the big challenges during the next decades. Resource-saving strategies and land use intensification require the development of more viable plant nutrition strategies in crop production as alternatives to the prevailing use of mineral fertilisers, mainly produced by exploitation of non-renewable natural resources. BIOFECTOR is an integrated project with the aim to develop novel approaches for the use of so-called bio-effectors based on living microorganisms and active natural compounds.

The final goal is the development of bio-effector products with capability to increase the productivity of organic and low-input farming systems and boosting the efficiency of recycling fertilisers and of nutrient placement strategies close to the roots of crop plants. The strategic combination of the various alternative fertilisation approaches with specifically adapted bio-effector products under diverse European geo-climatic conditions provides a promising tool to overcome limitations in nutrient availability. In this context, the project will contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural production in Europe with reduced input of agrochemicals.

Microbial bio-effectors addressed by the project comprise various fungal and bacterial isolates with well-characterized root growth-promoting and nutrient-solubilising potential. Natural extraction products of seaweed, compost and plant extracts, as well as their purified active compounds, are also tested in various combinations and formulations. The products are developed for major crops, such as maize, wheat and tomato. After the assessment on laboratory scale, a "European Field Testing Network" assures product evaluation under representative European geo-climatic conditions over a total testing period of five years.

Partners of the project:

Academic institutions: Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) (Germany), Czech University of Life Sciences (Czech Republic), Banat's University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Timisoara (Romania), Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary), Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Netherlands), University of Naples (Italy), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (United Kingdom), Anhalt University of Life Sciences (Germany), Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (Schweiz), Agricultural Research Organization (Israel)

Academic institutions cooperate with a number of specialized companies, providing outstanding expertise in the production of bio-effectors and fertilisers, as well as with representatives of farmers associations: BioAtlantis Ltd (Ireland), Madora GmbH (Germany), ABiTEP GmbH (Germany), Prophyta Biologischer Pflanzenschutz GmbH (Germany), Sourcon Padena GmbH (Germany), AGRIGES s.r.l. (Italy), KomTek Miljo (Denmark), Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hüttenkalk e.V. (Germany) FiBL-Projekte GmBH (Deutschland)

The GABO:milliarium mbH & Co KG will manage the administrative tasks of the project.

Kontact: Prof. Dr. Kornelia Smalla (Subproject partner) Julius Kühn Institute (JKI), Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics kornelia.smalla@jki.bund.de

Kathrin Stoller, GABO:milliarium mbH & Co KG (Project Manager) Kathrin.stoller@gabo-mi.com Ph.: +49 (0)89 28810415

Prof. Dr. Günter Neumann, Institut für Kulturpflanzenwissenschaften der Universität Hohenheim (Scientific Coordinator) guenter.neumann@uni-hohenheim.de Ph.: +49 (0)711 459-24273

idw :: 11.10.2012