Partnering opportunity

Research and development into new fertilizers and biostimulants

Summary

A Spanish research group has extensive knowledge and experience in the development of new fertilizers, biostimulants, iron chelates and inductors for plant defence system. It also has plant growth chambers, greenhouses and scientific-technological equipment to carry out different types of analysis and experiments. Companies or research organizations interested in joint-collaboration projects through research or technical cooperation agreements are sought.

Partner sought

The research group is looking for companies interested in the development of new fertilizers, biostimulants, iron chelates and inductors for plant defense system willing to sign a technical/research cooperation for the development, and subsequently commercial exploitation, of the know-how developed by this research group. - Type of partner sought: Industry; R&D institution; University. - Specific area of activity of the partner: Agriculture; agrochemicals; agricultural chemistry; biostimulansts; fertilizers; iron chelates; inductors for plant defence system. -Task to be performed: joint further developments or adaptation of the research group’s know-how group to the specific requirement of the company or market through research or technical cooperation agreements.

Description

The Spanish research team is focused on finding the most appropriate solutions related to the agricultural chemistry, such as scientific and technological solutions: • Improving plant nutrition. • Optimization of plant growth. • Plant physiological action of biostimulants (humic substances and amino acids) and its impact on the mobilization of nutrients in the soil. • Study of effectiveness of chelates of micronutrients, especially iron. • Improving fruit and vegetables quality. The main research lines of the group are: 1) Biostimulants: any improvement in the agricultural system that produces an increase in harvest should reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and improve the sustainability of the system. In the last years, there has been widespread the use of biostimulants obtained from different organic materials (peptides, amino acids, polysaccharides, humic acids, etc). They can be absorbed by plants and soil microorganisms, developing a positive effect not only on growth, but also on quality and crop production. The purpose of these products is not provide nutrients but enhance and stimulate plant metabolism and reducing the effects of abiotic and/or biotic stress on plants. It is leading to the development of new biostimulants by the industry. In addition, these products are developed to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. 2) Development of inductors for immunological system in plants: the mechanisms of plant defence against pathogens and pests has revealed the existence of defence systems based on the recognition by membrane receptors or intracellular molecules characteristic of pathogens, which determines the activation of inducible defence barriers. These defence mechanisms are systemic, i.e. not only activing the tissue where the recognition of the pathogen/pest occurs, but also in the rest of the plant that has not been exposed to the infection. This systemic response protects the plant against further attack of pathogens/pests, which is of great potential interest for agronomic applications. 3) Improving the effectiveness of chelates of micronutrients (particularly iron): iron chlorosis traditionally has been the main nutritional disorder in crops grown in calcareous soils, although the effects of the lack of other micronutrients as zinc and manganese must be also considered. These deficiencies are particularly important in fruit and vegetables, causing losses in plant growth, harvest and quality loss in crops. In these cases, the micronutrient application to the soil or foliarly becomes practically mandatory. For iron, synthetic chelates, especially Fe-EDDHA (Ethylenediamine di-2-hydroxyphenyl acetate ferric) have been the most effective solution, however its low biodegradability in soil, it has sparked interest in finding solutions equally effective, but sustainable. In recent years, research on correcting micronutrient deficiencies have focused on four ways mainly: • Development of new fertilizers (including controlled release fertilizers, compatible fertilizers with the environment and development fertilizer with high purity). • To study implementation strategies. • Development of new analytical methods more specific and sensitive than iron (including NMR). • Environmental-friendly pre- and postharvest technologies to enhance nutritive and functional quality of fruits and vegetables involving the use of pre- and postharvest non-injurious stress (abiotic elicitors and UV light) to improve the nutritionally important secondary metabolites in fruit and vegetables, with special interest in the antioxidant compounds, while maintaining or improving their organoleptic quality. The university looks for companies or research organizations interested in: - Joint collaboration projects through research agreements; and/or, - Subcontracting its services for developing R&D projects, specific training or any scientific and technical support via technical cooperation agreement.

Advantages and innovations

• Novel biostimulants products for crop enhancement on horticultural an agricultural crops grown in countries worldwide: new combinations of organic waste are being investigated (e.g. different fractions of humic substances) with the aim of discovering the synergistic effect they have on the stimulation of plant growth for improving crop yield, quality and abiotic stress tolerance, compared to the same compounds separately. • Inducers of the immune system: several substances are being investigated (e.g. silicon, chitosan, botanical extracts and plant residues rich in antioxidant compounds) under abiotic stress (high temperature, drought, salinity, water excess, nutritional disorder...) to activate self-defence system of the plant, in order to resist future pests more efficiently. • Improving the effectiveness of chelates of micronutrients, especially iron: the only approved chelates approved by the European legislation are not biodegradable. In this sense, the research group is looking for new chelates from organic compounds with biodegradability properties in order to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable chelates by other alternatives which endogenous iron. Moreover, both ferric nutrition and growth are being improved by these new chelates.

Development stage

Under development/lab tested

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Secret Know-how


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