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Project Period 1 August 2017 - 31 January 2021

Vertify and Stichting Noordzeeboerderij are part of the Bio4Safe project, which started on August 1, 2017 and which is coordinated from the Belgian Test Center for Ornamental Cultivation (PCS). Together with partners from Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, the project is testing the role of biostimulants in combination with innovative measurement sensors in practice to significantly reduce nutrient and water consumption in horticulture.

The 2 Seas region (coastal regions along the southern North Sea and the Channel) is known for its intensive horticulture, which requires large amounts of water and fertilizers. Various EU directives aim to protect water quality by preventing nitrogen and phosphorus leaching, striving to improve soil quality or anticipating water shortages. In addition to this legislative environmental pressure, economic reasons also force growers to reduce their water and nutrient consumption.


This project aims to reduce water and nutrient consumption through the use of biostimulants (seaweed extracts and bacteria), which increase the nutrient utilization efficiency, the tolerance to abiotic stress and / or the plant quality of plants. By combining the use of biostimulants with innovative plant sensors that monitor plants online, the researchers hope to reduce the consumption of water and fertilizers by 20 and 10% respectively, depending on the crop.

The project focuses on demonstration trials with different horticultural crops in the three countries in order to reach diverse target groups. Furthermore, the focus will also be on the potential of seaweed-based biostimulants, in order to create economic opportunities for seaweed producers in the 2 Seas region.

Today each Member State has its own regulations regarding the commercialization of biostimulants. By 2020, the EU will develop a common European framework for the trade of biostimulants, but it remains unclear how best to quantify the positive effects of biostimulants on nutrient and water consumption. With this project we therefore also want to develop a standardized protocol that accredited laboratories can use to objectively evaluate biostimulants.

Vertify, with its many years of experience in the Dutch agricultural sector, joins forces with Stichting Noordzeeboerderij, the point of contact for the Dutch seaweed sector. The consortium also consists of partners from Belgium (Test Center for Floriculture and CropFit Ghent University), France (ISA Lille and Pôle Légumes) and England (NIAB EMR and Dove Associates). The partners will consult annually with various relevant organizations, such as fertilizer manufacturers, interest groups, producers of biostimulants, governments and research institutions from the four countries. Due to the complementary knowledge and different target groups of the partners, the project guarantees a wide dissemination of knowledge in the horticultural sector.

The Bio4safe project will run for four years and is subsidized by Europe through the Interreg 2 Seas Program.

More information?

For more information you can contact Matthijs Blind, Project Leader Hydroponics and Protected Crops

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