Project: Microbe-based organic cultivation of fruit and vegetable crops

In previous Eureka project MYCOTAGRIF run by the CO P Symbio-m preliminary testing of organic cultivation technology using mycorrhizal fungi has been successfully proven on blueberries plantation in Spain and there is a solid base to consider significant marketing potential of the organic technology in for other crop._x000D_Goal of the project is to proceed in development of organic growing of small fruits and vegetables namely raspberries, strawberries, globe artichoke, lettuce, onion and others using unique combination of selected organic matter input together with fungi based microbial inocula. Symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi help naturally plants to retrieve nutrients from soil. They represent sustainable natural solution for organic cultivation of a crop. The CO aim is to develop unique technology of organic growing to eliminate totally chemical input into production using alternative way of supplying nutrients via organic matter input and inoculation with microbes which help to retrieve nutrients from decomposing organic matter. _x000D_The CO innovation of unique technology of organic growing in fruit and vegetables production is using alternative way of supplying nutrients via organic matter input (wood chips, bark etc.) and inoculation with decomposing saprotrophic fungi, which help to retrieve nutrients from decomposing organic matter and combine these with mycorrhizal fungi, which help to retrieve released nutrients. The project includes selection and development of the most efficient varieties of each plant species responsive to proposed technology, tuning of the most appropriate modes of planting, cultivation and harvests. Production of these microbial consortia is still missing at commercial and industrial scale to supply sufficiently organic growers chain. Ultimate goal of the project to achieve technology transfer from the CO participant to other two Ps and to set up on site production units of the novel microbial products based on mycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungi in Portugal and Hungary to supply fruit and vegetables production chains locally in these target countries. _x000D_Major rationale behind the proposal are following facts: 1. many growers in Europe seek alternative organic solution for their production providing sustainable schemes, which allow to achieve similar yield as conventional schemes, 2. there is increasing body of scientific evidence that selected microbial consortia are capable to revitalize agriculture soils and provide ecological and sustainable alternative to conventional production schemes and moreover, 3. to shorten time of plant growth and fructification and thus to economize plant production and 4. that this alternative way of natural supply of plant nutrition leads to improvement of post-harvest quality._x000D_ _x000D_The first research step of the project includes isolation of native strains of decomposing and symbiotic fungi from target plantations of large growers of target crops in each country. Further steps includes formulation of microbial products, testing its compatibility with organic matter input into cultivation system and the selection of the most efficient combinations. Next necessary task is to develop and formulate novelty product based on combination of beneficial consortia of native symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi supporting nutrient acquisition and growth of fruit plants and saprotrophic fungi increasing accessible nutrient pool by decomposing organic matter. Plant varieties will be tested for their responsiveness to organic technology. Following task is exploitation of the organic technology of cultivation in target countries to set up production units to supply local markets with tuned microbial inocula formulated with native organisms. _x000D__x000D_The research and development is pre-competitive and subsequent marketing will be necessary to gain wider market acceptance. Dissemination of the project results will be carried out after IPR has been protected. The primary market will be growers of target crop as buyers of microbial products and consequently employing whole technology of organic cultivation. The proposed project would enable to introduce promising new biotechnological way of organic growing into food crop production on European scale. _x000D_ _x000D_Major deliverables of the project will be: 1) Microbial commercial products for each country based on decomposing and symbiotic fungi effective in releasing nutrients from organic matter and transport them to a plant. 2) Complex organic technology of small fruits and vegetables cultivation including selection of responsible plant varieties of target species best suited for organic production, optimized input of organic matter tuned for microbial inoculum. 3) Established small-scale production unit for preparation of microbial products at industrial scale in Portugal and Hungary._x000D_4) To prepare the whole IPR package for full exploitation in target countries including marketing of the technology and novel bioproducts.

Acronym MICROFRUIT (Reference Number: 4366)
Duration 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2011
Project Topic The project is focused on development and validation of organic production of small fruits and vegetables using unique combination of selected organic matter input together with fungi based microbial inocula. The aim is to fully eliminate agrochemical inputs in current production of target crops.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
- A novel combined product based on symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi and saprophytic fungi decaying the organic matter_x000D_- Mycorrhizal product based on isolates native to the Czech Republic_x000D_- Mycorrhizal product based on isolates native to Portugal_x000D_- Mycorrhizal product based on isolates native to Hungary_x000D_- Manual micro-injection device_x000D_- Establishment and initiation of the AMF mass production in production unit in Portugal_x000D_- Registration of modified mycorrhizal product tuned for applications in agriculture (trade name: Offyougrow) as a supplementary plant substance at Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture of the Czech Rep._x000D_- Organic certification of Offyougrow for use in organic farming done by Soil Association Certification Ltd. (UK)
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 1

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 Simbiotec LDA Partner Portugal
3 Symbio-m s r. o. Coordinator Czech Republic
3 Saniplant Biotechnological Research and Development Ltd. Partner Hungary