Recycling and upgrading of bone meal for environmental friendly crop production and nutrition (2005-2008)

Sixth Framework programme Priority 5 – Food Quality and Safety
This project is co-funded by the European Commission within the 6th Framework Programme of RTD.




INTRODUCTION – PROJECT BACKGROUND



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PROTECTOR Success Story on EU-AGRINET wep page:
http://ec.europa/research/agriculture/success_protector_en.htm


Based on the past 44 months scientific and technical project development, and very promising test reults in 2006/2007, and the results of the 2008 field validation tests inHungary, Israel and Italy, the project demonstrated overwhelming success. In Hungary the field tests have been executed by the Plant and Soil Protection Authority, which independent authority organisation provided official statement about the field viability of the PROTECTOR products and methods.


PROJECT BACKGROUND

Plant diseases play a significant role in the destruction of natural resources in agriculture. In particular, soil-borne pathogens cause important losses, fungi being the most aggressive. As such, modern agriculture is highly dependent on the use of chemical pesticides to control plant pathogens. However, the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in highly intensive farming practices causes negative effects both on human health and natural ecosystems. Despite improvements in environmental standards, there is increased likelihood of a link between environmental degradation and certain human illnesses.

There is increasing public concern surrounding the continued use of agrichemicals and their damaging effects on human health and the environment. Chemicals that are dangerous should be replaced by safer chemicals or safer alternative technologies that do not entail the use of chemicals, nor pose risks to man and the environment. Such public awareness is driving the search for more environmentally friendly methods that will control plant disease and, generally, offer a positive contribution to the goal of sustainability in agriculture. Biological control of pathogenic fungi has gained considerable attention and several bacterial and fungal biological control agents have been developed in previousyears. In spite of their appeal and potential, biological control agents have not made an effective transition from research plots to farmers’ fields.

Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient but maintaining its availability for plant uptake is a critical challenge both for researchers and growers because of its very low solubility in soil. Often, the application of conventional mineral P-fertilizers is economically unviable, - owing to the fact that a large proportion of the P added becomes rapidly fixed in forms that can not be utilized readily by plants. The P fixation problem has forced many growers to ‘over-apply’ P fertilizers to the extent that many soils throughout Europe now pose a threat to water quality (eutrophication) by releasing their excess P during runoff, erosion and leaching events. Rock phosphate is one of the basic raw materials for the production of mineral P fertilizers. Cadmium is particularly enriched in many phosphate rock deposits and invariably accumulates in the end-product fertilizer and / or the byproducts and wastes, and ultimately the environment. Cadmium and its compounds are toxic to human beings and therefore appear on the EU’s action list. In the light of the various environmental and health-related risks involved in the manufacture and use of mineral-P fertilizers, there is a growing demand for the development of an effective biofertilizer product which is based on P-solubilizing microorganisms. In this context, one of the most important healthy food supply concepts is prevention, where the key technical element is the use of low input farming materials and methods during plant cultivation, whereby the toxic element uptake stream is removed or at least significantly decreased.




PROTECTOR CONSORTIUM

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The PROTECTOR project is co-funded by the European Commission within the 6th Framework Programme of RTD. Thematic Priority 5- Food Quality and Safety.
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