Reducing biofilm and improving water quality in agriculture and horticulture

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Efficient use of resources and materials


Water is an important resource. Water management and treatment is a challenge for farmers and growers in the 2 Seas region. Every year agriculture in Flanders uses approximately 50 million m³ water, with the largest consumers greenhouse horticulture and livestock production. Groundwater, tap water and rainwater is used as a source. Farmers and growers are challenged to use less scarce, groundwater and tap water and to ensure a healthy water quality from the source to the tap point. The quality of the water at the source point must be known and without exceeding the bacteriological standards or deviation in chemical parameters, specific filtering and disinfection techniques may be required. A proper water quality at the source point is not a guarantee of healthy water at the tap point; biofilm is a persistent problem in agri- and horticulture. A biofilm is a slimy layer on the inside of service pipes for drinking water in livestock facilities and nutrient solutions for plants in greenhouse horticulture. The biofilm is a matrix for all kinds of bacteria and micro-organisms which can be harmful. Bacteria in a biofilm are difficult to eliminate and they are responsible for regularly recurring infections. The formation of the biofilm can be problematic as the deposits can block the pipes.

Creation date: 29/09/2017

Bloc onglets

Bloc 1

Overall objective

Support farmers and growers to choose and implement the most appropriate techniques for their business to reduce water consumption of groundwater and tap water and to ensure a healthy water quality from the source to the tap point.

Bloc 2


The biofilm project wants to test, evaluate, improve and demonstrate existing and disinfection techniques and technologies, which must be resource efficient (water, antibiotics, nutrients, pesticides,...) effective, affordable and applicable for agriculture and horticulture. Develop and test innovative techniques to monitor the formation of biofilm and to prevent the formation of biofilm.

Bloc 3

Expected result

Resource efficient water management and reduced biofilm formation will reduce the use of antibiotics and pesticides, shorten quality and production losses and lower the impact on the environment.

Bloc 4

Cross-border added-value

Transnational cooperation is needed for knowledge exchange on existing techniques and best practices and for the development and broad implementation of innovative techniques and strategies.