MiCRop consortiumMicrobial imprinting for crop resilience
The chief aim of this large-scale open innovation project is to meet the challenges of sustainable food production. The MiCRop consortium consists of several Dutch Universities and other institutes of knowledge as well as many private sector businesses and the work is supported by the Dutch Research Council.
The research looks at aspects such as how plants ‘attract’ micro-organisms under stress conditions, which micro-organisms these are and what they contribute to the plant. The goal is to identify micro-organisms that can be implemented to strengthen agricultural plant species and improve the resilience of future crops to environmental stress.
Direct seed application is our core business and Incotec is already developing highly specialized techniques for the application of biologicals to improve the quality of the plant and protect against yield loss. Our involvement in the project is implementing this expertise to deliver safe and effective methods to apply the micro-organisms identified directly to the seed.
Bacteriophages are a type of virus that destroys some specific types of bacteria. Each bacteria requires a different bacteriophage. The purpose of the collaboration with the University of Leuven is two-fold: first the bacteriophages must be identified that will combat only the bacteria that can damage the seed and its performance while leaving all the good bacteria unharmed. Secondly, an effective method needs to be developed for applying these bacteriophages directly to the seed and ensuring that the bacteriophage itself is unharmed and remains effective in the coating.
The project is aligned with Incotec’s sustainability strategy, Mission Zero, that commits us to always look for the most sustainable solution.
The collaboration between Croda/Incotec and Xampla is aimed at developing seed coatings that are microplastic free and fully biodegradable. Xampla is a University of Cambridge spin-out company, and the project is backed by the UK government and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany. Incotec already offers microplastic-free seed coatings for a range of vegetable and field crop seeds. This innovative trial will see the development of next generation microplastic-free seed coatings that will leave no residue.
The partnership will also help future-proof the seed coating industry, by offering a solution which is compliant with a microplastic ban across Europe, proposed by the European Chemicals Agency, which – if adopted – will be introduced by 2027.
The project is part of Incotec’s sustainability strategy, Mission Zero, that commits us to always look for the most sustainable solution.