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CORDIS - Résultats de la recherche de l’UE

From plants for plants: enhancing crops potential and resilience by reliable new generation biostimulants

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Plants for Plants (From plants for plants: enhancing crops potential and resilience by reliable new generation biostimulants)

Période du rapport: 2016-02-01 au 2016-08-31

Overall objective of Landlab innovation business project is the global market introduction of a new generation of plant-derived biostimulants able to enhance crops yields without resorting to chemical inputs and to improve plant resilience to climate change in a stable, reliable way.
With the conventional cropping systems, the potential of cultivated plants is close to the maximum. Moreover, climate change impacts (drought, extreme temperatures, etc.) are on the rise, putting further constraints to yields and challenging food security. Meanwhile many fertilizers are outlawed by ever-stricter environmental laws, leaving farmers and industry in search for alternatives. Pressures which are reinforced by a rising demand for healthy and eco-friendly products.
Because of its inconsistent performances, the actual generation of biostimulants can only provides partial answers to these challenges. Landlab innovation project aim to overcome its limits and bring the biostimulants market to a new level. Breakthrough is the build-up of a strongly integrated source-to-sink production chain, able to generate a flow of innovative products, specifically tailored on critical stages and conditions of manifold crops and supported by an accurate identification of their active compounds and by efficacy studies. Positive outcome of this project, which has been confirmed to be realistic and feasible both at technical and commercial level, is expected to open new growth perspectives for Landlab and its team.
The feasibility study conducted under phase 1, aimed to gather and assess technical and market data as to direct development and exploitation efforts toward the products with the highest commercial potential and to further elaborate our business plan and commercialization strategy. In particular, it was intended to: complete the market analysis; assess IPR or regulatory constraints, identify market barriers and set up a risk management strategy; identify the products to be launched first; optimize and standardize extraction and production methodologies; assess the expected life span of the products; benchmark the potential business models and plan the way ahead.
An analysis of the biostimulants market was performed based on several sources and studies, the direct market knowledge, the participation to several international events and the expectations deriving from the ongoing debate on the future European regulations on BS. The resulting picture is clearly indicating a constant growth and development of the BS market in the next 7 to 10 years all over the agricultural areas of the world. The “traditional” BS (Aminoacid, Sseaweed extracts, Humic acids) will remain relevant but new categories of BS are emerging.
In parallel, Landlab has identified the most suitable sources of active compounds. The new category of biostimulants will be extracted from food grade plants, which can be sustainably cultivated by Landlab or purchased on the market, as confirmed during the feasibility assessment. Extraction will be “green", based on food grade components and chemicals solvents free. As a result the final products, rich in bioactive phytochemicals, should be also considered as "food grade” and thus harmful to humans and the environment and effective in enhancing plant responses to critical conditions.
Landlab has identified, characterized and standardized the concentration of the main active compounds within the selected sources and produced the first prototypes in laboratory. Raw material characterization, extractions methodologies definition and application, analytical methods set up, flow chart build-up, have been performed in cooperation with the University of Padua, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences.
Efficacy of the prototypes was then tested against two main critical conditions: water lack (drought) and Nutrients Use Efficiency: in both cases the tests confirm that the new generation of BS will: enhance the resistance to the abiotic stresses, with 15-20% compared to untreated plants; increase the yield up to 10% ; keep the yield less variable when critical conditions happen.
Based on a comparison with competing products on the market, the expected life-spam of the new products was also assessed, resulting to be quite long thanks to their genuinely innovative character and further development potential.
Gathered insights and results were used to fine-tune ou business plan and marketing strategy and to plan next steps, identifying resources and collaborations needed to complete the project. After a careful assessment of the IPR protection offered by current and perspective regulatory framework and after having excluded the existence of blocking factors, Landlab got to the conclusion to submit for patenting the whole chain source-process-products.
Landlab will keep on going its core business activity - R&D on behalf of international players - and will also deliver to the industrial market ingredients for special Water Soluble (WS) formulations to be either foliar or soil applied. The new products are going to create a completely new category of biostimulants, as none of the products currently on the market is able to precisely identify the active ingredient and ensure its stable concentration and efficacy. Nor there are specialties for agricultural applications using the selected active ingredients or the methodologies we developed.
Landlab has already obtained positive feed-backs from the actual partners, very open to integrate into their actual WS’s efficient BS produced by Landlab or by a Landlab’s spin-off company. Supported by scientific bodies, we will further enlarge the own portfolio, test the efficacy in-house and off-site with independent researchers, support the companies innovation by tailor made solutions. The two years planned activity, from now on, likely supported by EU funds, will need a substantial investment, new specifically skilled persons, the integration between the actual Landlab and the future enlarged structure.
The project will also seek to bring an important impact in socio-economic and environmental terms. Firstly, it will help farmers to remain competitive, increase and stabilize their incomes. The new biostimulants will indeed optimize the use of agricultural resources (land, water and energy) and contribute to reduce the need to resort to polluting artificial inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. The positive cost-benefit balance for farmers will be thus coupled with clear environmental benefits for the community as a whole, and particularly for consumers which will have more healthier food at their disposal.
Efficacy tests: biostimulated vs control plants