Agrochemicals, such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are key to maintain and promote crop growth. Traditionally, these active ingredients are sprayed around the plants. This, however, is very inefficient and most of the agrochemicals is lost to the environment and thus not available to the plant. This also has important negative environmental consequences since the lost fertilizer can lead to eutrophication and water contamination, and can endanger environmental habitats and be toxic towards non-target organisms. This project will investigate the use of beneficial, plant-root associated bacteria to enable targeted delivery of fertilizers to the plant root. This is attractive as it allows targeted, active delivery and effective and locally restricted dosage of agrochemicals around the plant and promote uptake.
What is special about the project?
Fertilizers and pesticides are of great importance to maintain and increase crop yields. This is critical in view of the continuous growth of the world population and the concomitant demands on food production. Increasing agricultural productivity is one key element in order to combat hunger and secure food for the growing world. The current use of agrochemicals, however, is hugely inefficient with most of the fertilizers and pesticides that are used not reaching their target. This has dramatic environmental consequences. The run-off of fertilizers can lead to eutrophication and water contamination, and excess fertilizers and pesticides can endanger environmental habitats and be toxic towards non-target organisms. Currently, fertilizers and pesticides are typically sprayed around the crop and will stay where they land (be it on the plant or the soil). Rather than relying on passive delivery strategies, this project will develop active, bacteria-based delivery systems that will allow for active transport and effective and localized dosage of fertilizers and other agrochemicals to plant roots. This will allow for reduced dosage of active ingredients, lower wash-off and enhanced uptake of active ingredients and thus represent an important step forward to more environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.
The project starts in August 2021
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 09.02.2022