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Research in Crop Sciences & Consulting in Agriculture




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Reducing mineral fertilizers to improve soil and produce

Conventional agriculture relies on regular and liberal applications of artificial mineral fertilisers containing essential plant nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen fertilisers are made from atmospheric nitrogen, which is converted to ammonium using the energyintensive Haber-Bosch process, while phosphorus fertiliser is made by treatingmined phosphate rock with sulphuric acid. Apart from the high energy cost of producing these fertilisers with limited natural resources, harm is also caused to the environment by their application. Only about half of nitrogen fertilisers and 20 per cent of phosphate fertilisers are taken up by crops. Most of the remainder is immobilised, runs off into waterways, isleached into groundwater or lost in gaseous form. The liquid leachate causes pollution of groundwater sources and leads to the eutrophication of rivers, lakes and coastal zones, thereby reducing biodiversity and producing toxic algal blooms. Because of these damaging effects, many regions - including Europe - are introducing legislation to reduce the use of mineral fertilisers.


In response to the need to maintain crop yields whilst reducing artificial inputs, a number of projects are being funded by the European Commission to investigate more natural ways of sustaining agricultural production. BIOFECTOR (Resource preservation by application of bio-effectors in European crop production) is a major project investigating the use of bio-effectors (BEs) to improve the ability of crops to utilise nutrients from both artificial and natural fertilisers. Coordinated by the University of Hohenheim in Germany and benefiting from the dedicated project management skills of consultancy company CMAST, the project comprises a consortium of 21 industrial and academic partners BIOFECTOR is now approaching the end of its five-year duration, in which it has tested the effects of 36 BEs in over 150 laboratory and field Experiments.


 BIOFECTOR Participants:  
P 01: University of Hohenheim (UHOH)
 P 02: Julius Kuehn-Institute Federal Research Centre for   Cultivated Plants (JKI)
P 03: Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) 
P 04: Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine from Timisoara (BUAS)
P 05: Corvinus University Budapest, Hungary (CUB)
P 06: WUR Plant Research International (DLO)
P 07: University of Naples, Department of Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy (DIAAT-UNUNA7a) & The Università of Napoli Federico II (DIAAT-UNUNA7b)
P 08: University of Copenhagen (UCPH)
P 09: Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI)
P 10: Bioatlantis Ltd. (BIAT)
P 11: Anhalt University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) 
P 12: Research Institute of Organic Farming (FiBL) 
P 13: DR. RAUPP E. K. & madora gmbh (madora)  
P 14: ABitep GmbH (ABI)
P 15: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Huettenkalk e.V. (HKKalke) 
P 17: Bayer Crop Science Biologics /Prophyta GmbH (PROPH)
P 18: Sourcon Padena GmbH & Co. KG (SP)
P 19: FIBL Projekte GmbH (FIBL-Projekte)
P 20: The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel – the Volcani Centre (ARO)P 21: Agriges s.r.l (AGRIGES)
P 26: CMAST bvba (CMAST) 


BIOFECTOR Publications List

BIOFECTOR Research Document

BIOFECTOR Final Report

European Commission about BIOFECTOR