Emerald Research Limited; Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro; Biobab R&D, S.L.; VegenovEmerald Research Limited; Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro; Biobab R&D, S.L.; VegenovCATE- Comite d'Action Technique et Economique; Instituto Portugues do Mar de da Atmosfera; Universidade de Coimbra; Aberystwyth University; Instituto Superior de Agronomia, University of Lisbon
With BioNASPA partners from SMEs, university laboratories, research centres, major farming companies and food retailers have combined their competences in discovering and developing new biomolecules from biomass available in the European-Atlantic region (seaweeds, microalgae, marine plants, weeds) to control key crop diseases or stimulate crops grown in the regions, mitigating the effects of environmental stress and reducing the fertiliser footprint.
The program comprises four clusters of activities:
- Bio Separation: Develop techniques to separate novel bioactives from marine & coastal biomass sources;
- Bio Production: Optimize the production processes and formulation of novel active compounds for agricultural use;
- Bio Protection: Glasshouse & Field trials of the bio-products on critical pathogens or as biostimulants for key crops;
- Bio LifeCycle: Evaluate life cycle of the products and novel crop production methods to optimise applications.
The Atlantic Area is characterised by high rainfall and high humidity, conditions which increase crop fungal infection and leaching of inputs from soil (EEA, 2009). Crop growers counter these problems by applying high levels of synthetic fungicides and fertilizers. However, heavy rainfall can render these applications ineffective and leach these chemicals into waterways, resulting in increased emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O). The problem is compounded as many fungicides are toxic and face EU bans due to residue accumulation in food, which affects growers and retailer alike.
NASPA will develop a new generation of products based on bioactive compounds from seaweed/fish waste/aquatic plants combined with key plant micronutrients. These will either induce crops to produce protective (antimicrobial, anti-oxidant) substances against fungal pathogens which infect them or improve plant health making crops less prone to diseases via better nutrition and biostimulation.
Together, these have been shown to alter nitrogen cycling rate, reduce the need for nitrogen fertilisers, and associated leaching of nitrates into water streams, and of N2O emissions from agricultural soils.
The products will increase marketable yield and shelf-life, providing Return on Investment for crop growers and retailers. NASPA will provide increases in food production, exports, employment and competition, whilst meeting regulatory requirements regarding food residues and environmental run-off.