Project presentations on the website

Every project supported by Gebert Rüf Stiftung is made accessible with a web presentation that informs about the core data of the project. With this public presentation, the foundation publishes the funding results achieved and contributes to the communication of science to society.




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Project data

  • Project no: GRS-091/20 
  • Amount of funding: CHF 300'000 
  • Approved: 29.10.2020 
  • Duration: 08.2021 - 07.2024 
  • Area of activity:  Microbials, seit 2016

Project management

Project description

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. It can lead to eutrophication and water contamination, and can endanger environmental habitats and be toxic towards non-target organisms. This project investigates 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.


During the first stage of the project, we have successfully developed protocols for the modification and characterization of nanoparticle-modified bacteria. First sets of Pseudomonas protegens CHA0 bacteria modified with model polystyrene nanoparticles have been produced and characterized using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. The most promising nanoparticle-modified bacterial hybrids are currently being investigated for their viability, motility and chemotaxis (an ability of bacteria to travel in a chemical gradient). To allow for high-resolution, long-term imaging of bacterial dynamics on and around growing plant roots, we have also developed a dedicated growth chamber, which will be used to study the migration of nanoparticle-modified bacteria towards Arabidopsis plant roots, and to investigate the effect of biodegradable, active-ingredient loaded nanoparticles on plant growth.


Persons involved in the project

Dr. Harmon-Anton Klok, Laboratoire des Polymères, EPFL
Maria Malgorzata Marcinek, PhD, Laboratoire des Polymères, EPFL
Ursina Rathgeb, PhD, University of Lausanne
Dr. Christoph Keel, University of Lausanne
Prof. Niko Geldner, University of Lausanne

Last update to this project presentation  11.05.2023