Highlighted Technology Platform

 

Biofunctional Microgel-based Fertilizers for Controlled Nutrition of Plants

S.Knopp, K. Rübsam, F. Jakob & U. Schwaneberg

Reducing fertilizer demands by optimizing nutrient supply and thereby increasing agricultural production is of high importance for a sustainable bioeconomy. The GreenGel technology aims to be a novel platform for controlled compound release on plant leaves through nutrient loaded containers termed microgels, which are immobilized through anchoring peptides. A demand matching and long-lasting nutrient release contributes to fertilizer stewardship and thereby to the general aim of a suistainable and integrated bioeconomy.

For a proof of concept, the GreenGel nutrient release technology was successfully established to combat iron deficiency of cucumber plants. An anchor peptide library was generated and screened for cucumber leaf binding. The identified peptides were conjugated to iron loaded microgel containers to increase the rainfastness of the immobilzed microgels. Cucumber leafs treated with the developed GreenGels showed no decrease of the chlorophyll content whereas untreated cucumber leafs showed iron deficiency symptoms resulting in a reduced chlorophyll content. The proof of concept for the GreenGel nutrient release technology was successfully demonstrated and the basic patent application was filed in 2015.

  Application of biofunctional microgel-based fertilizers for controlled nutrition of plants Bio VI

The proof of concept for the GreenGel nutrient release technology was successfully demonstrated on the example of cucumber iron deficiency in a joint project with Prof. Pich (RWTH Aachen University) and Prof. Goldbach (University of Bonn). The overview Figure was generated and provided by Richard Meurer (AG Pich).