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Project

Demonstration of circular biofertilisers and implementation of optimized fertiliser strategies and value chains in rural communities

The RUSTICA projects provides a technical solution to convert organic residues from the fruit and vegetable sector into
novel bio-based fertiliser products of high quality that address the needs of modern (organic) agriculture. The project’s
ambition goes beyond the simple recovery of nutrients, and also includes the developments of economically viable and
environmentally sustainable alternatives to mineral fertilisers with the same or improved agronomic value. The technical
solution consists of 5 conversion processes (carboxylic acid platform, microbial biomass production, electrodialysis, insect
breeding and biochar production) which can be combined depending on the available waste streams, and integrated with
state-of-the-art technologies such as composting. Synergies between the individual conversion processes will be sought and
optimized to maximize economic and environmental benefits, and the processes will be demonstrated at TRL7. The resulting
ingredients (microbial biomass, mineral nutrient concentrates, insect biomass, insect frass, insect chitin, biochar) will be
combined to obtain tailor made fertiliser products adapted to specific crop needs.
Parallel with this technological innovation and integration, a multi-actor approach guarantees the implementation potential of
the technologies in the agro-food chain, and will lead to sound business models. Several non-technical aspects
(environmental and social LCA, legal framework, expected market developments...) will be evaluated in 4 European regions
and 1 region in Colombia. Stakeholder involvement at each step guarantees the development of marketable end-products
for the fruit and vegetable sector, with a high replication potential to other agricultural sectors. Cooperation with other EUfunded
projects working on nutrient recovery from other waste products will stimulate a joint solution to evolve towards a
sustainable and circular fertiliser management to close nutrient cycles within and between regions

Date:1 Jan 2021  →  Today
Keywords:bio-based fertiliser product, organic agriculture, carboxylic acid platform, microbial biomass production, electrodialysis, insect breeding, biochar production, sustainable and circular fertiliser management
Disciplines:Agrochemistry and fertilisers, Sustainable agriculture