Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

‘Green’ plant food for increased disease resistance

The widespread use of fertilisers and pesticides by the agricultural sector has come under increasing opposition from both consumers and policymakers alike. EU-funded researchers established the effectiveness and safety of natural alternatives and established ISO-based quality procedures for their production.
‘Green’ plant food for increased disease resistance
Biological food for plants (BFPs) consists of soil or plant ‘inputs’ derived from natural resources with one or more biologically active ingredients that enhances crop vigour.

BFPs have been shown to increase plant resistance to disease and enhance soil micro-life. They are excellent candidates for enhancing crop production while using sustainable farming processes. However, regulation and standardisation of BFP production and use ensuring quality, reliability and traceability are lacking.

European researchers initiated the BFPS project to fill this gap. Scientists sought to scientifically establish the effectiveness and safety of BFP use and create a quality management system for production according to ISO-9001 guidelines. Such results would promote export legislation favouring EU small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the field.

Throughout the project, investigators focused on the health and safety of the BFPs. They analysed the exact chemical and biological compositions of a variety of BFPs with particular attention to pathogen content, detrimental heavy metal content and effects on DNA of plants given BFPs.

Studies were also carried out on the products, namely vegetables and fruits obtained with and without the addition of BFPs. Benefits of BFP use were verified at both greenhouse and farming field scales while no negative effects were observed, either in terms of pathogen content or food quality.

In addition, BFP manufacturing processes were evaluated to enhance efficiency, safety and end-product quality.

The BFPS consortium successfully demonstrated that BFP use led to higher crop productivity without the use of potentially harmful fertilisers and pesticides. In addition, the project highlighted the need for a revision of regulatory limitations to facilitate large-scale exploitation and export of BFPs.

The BFPS project results thus have the potential to enhance the competitiveness of EU SMEs while ensuring the health and safety of consumers around the world.

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