An innovative approach to enhance resource efficiency and safeguarding by using biostimulants and innovative sensors in horticulture | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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An innovative approach to enhance resource efficiency and safeguarding by using biostimulants and innovative sensors in horticulture

Priority Axis

Resource Efficient Economy

Specific objective

Efficient Use of Resources and Materials

Lead partner

Proefcentrum voor Sierteelt


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

3 176 266

ERDF amount

1 905 760

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    The 2 Seas area is known for its intensive horticulture which demands significant amounts of water and nutrients. Several EU directives aim to protect water quality by preventing N and P leaching, aim to enhance soil quality or anticipate on water shortage. Besides these legislative environmental pressures, also economic reasons force growers to reduce water and nutrient consumption. Biostimulants (BS) enhance nutrient and water use efficiency of plants. Today, every Member State has its own regulation on commercializing BS. By 2020, the EU will implement a common European legal framework for the commercialization of BS, but it remains unclear how they will implement the registration procedure and how technical information will be determined. Further, the majority of the growers does not know how to choose the most effective BS or how to use monitoring tools (Survey PCS). Thus, we need a consistent approach in assessing the performance of BS and we need to increase the use of BS and monitoring tools.

    Main Achievements

    The main goal of the Bio4safe project is to reduce water and fertilizer use in the horticultural sector. To achieve this goal it is important to prove growers that lowering water and nutrient consumption during cultivation is possible without quality loss or yield loss. Within the Bio4safe project seaweed-based biostimulants are tested and in situ steering of plants with innovative sensor tools is examined. 

    During the project’s first year, the current seaweed biostimulant market and the potential of local seaweeds for application in biostimulants was investigated. In this way, the Bio4safe project wants to create economic opportunities for local seaweed producers. Last year, a strategy for market penetration was developed through workshops with different stakeholders. At this moment we are working on a roadmap and plan to achieve the goals and strategy discussed in the workshops. This is done through the development of different business cases.

    As follow-up on the previous trials (2017-2018) executed under optimal conditions, last year's trials (2019) were set up under drought and nutrient stress conditions. In these trials the effectiveness of seaweed-based biostimulants to increase the tolerance of plants to abiotic stress was examined. Innovative sensor tools were used to measure specific plant characteristics such as water and nutrient use efficiency. Subsequent trials are still needed to get clear results on the effect of seaweed-based biostimulants and plant monitoring tools. Each partner published a report on their trial outcomes and presented their results to different stakeholders, this to increase the adoption of biostimulants and sensor tools. 
    In addition, the biostimulant WebApp interface ( was developed, a user-friendly database for growers where scientifically proven effects of commercial biostimulant products are bundled. Up till now, we are completing our literature excel database for researchers. The data of this database will be transformed into biostimulant product factsheets, which will be implemented in the WebApp. 

    Through the collaboration of all the Bio4safe partners, we were able to reach over 100000 persons in total. All partners aim to spread as much information as possible through open days, articles and presentations. Since the start of the project, the partners held 20 open days and visits, spread 30 news items or articles, did 64 announcations via social media and held 30 presentations.



    Universiteit Gent


    Pôle Légumes Région Nord

    Yncréa Hauts de France, établissement ISA Lille

    Proeftuin Zwaagdijk

    Stichting Noordzeeboerderij

    Dove Associates