SUSFERT – Developing multifunctional fertilisers for phosphorus and iron supply


Agriculture depends heavily on the use of non-renewable, resource-intense fertilisers to meet the ever rising demand for food and feed. The major fertiliser component phosphorus is mined and has been identified as a critical resource with 90% being imported into the EU. At the same time, there is a huge loss of nutrients from fertilisers in agriculture because they are often not available at the right amounts and/or at the right time to optimise plant growth.


SUSFERT develops more sustainable, multifunctional fertilisers for phosphorus and iron supply fitting into existing production processes and EU agricultural practice. It combines bio-based and biodegradable coatings for controlled release, probiotics to increase nutrient availability and the renewable phosphorous source struvite. SUSFERT demonstrates fertiliser efficacy for major crops, evaluates the economic potential and sustainability of the tested products, ensures regulatory compliance and finally prepares market entry.


The main expected impacts of SUSFERT are:
• Decrease dependency on mined phosphate rock by 40%
• Strengthen the circular economy by valorising waste- and by-products from wastewater treatment, bioethanol production and pulp and paper
• Reduce soil and water contamination by developing at least 4 novel fertiliser products
• Strengthen rural areas by establishing local value chains and feedstock sourcing

Development of all components and compound fertilisers is market driven, ensuring quick uptake in organic and conventional agriculture


Approach & Work Packages

Objectives & Expected Results



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SUSFERT in the news

Announcement – Public deliverable on current framework conditions (Roullier)

Late last year the SUSFERT consortium received its second public deliverable (D6.2) of the project: “Report on current framework conditions: regulations and policy opportunities and barriers”. Within Work Package 6 (WP6 – Sustainability), Sylvain Pluchon and colleagues from Group Roullier worked on the deliverable. Clearly, this topic is hugely important to the European fertiliser industry who’s work depend heavily […]

Did you already sign up for the @susfert #newsletter? The next edition is coming soon! Go to today and receive info on #publications, #events and other news on #agriculture #fertiliser #struvite and much more!
h J R
Look what's up and coming in @susfert! We applied for the @agrofilm Festival🎥with our #animation video on #biodegradable #fertilisers: 💪After much praise within the community we want to show it to a bigger audience.🤞🤞🤞 @BBI2020
h J R
Congratulations to our @BOKUvienna colleague @RenateWe on another #publication ( 😎🙌#Valorisation of various #wastewater from #productions are a most interesting topic and something to focus on even more in the future! #enzyme
h J R
🎉BIG #NEWS! 🎉@SUSFERT_BBI is amongst the TOP 20 highly #innovative #biotech #EU projects with #keyenabling technology: Congrats to our hardworking consortium & the other projects! 👏 @KETBIO_biotech @KETBIO_eu @BBI2020 @RTDS_Group
h J R

Testimonials on sustainable economy

The partner institutions understood from the very beginning what was important for the economy and for the future of Europe.

Marta Campos IturraldeBBI-JUBio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU)

The bioeconomy holds some of the answers to the economic challenges thrown up by mitigating climate change while maintaining growth and societal wellbeing. (from the scientific article “The bioeconomy, the challenge of the century for policy makers” in “New Biotechnology”, Vol. 40A, 11-19)

Jim PhilpDirectorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD (Paris, France)

The Bioeconomy holds enormous potential for growth and job creation and it will play a major role in the creation of Europe’s new smart and resource-efficient economy.

Bio-based industries undertakingBBI-JU

The bioeconomy is a very important subject that requires EU-wide action and it is now stated explicitly as part of the 9 EU objectives.

Phil HoganEU Commissioner

SUSFERT in a nutshell

The SUSFERT consortium

Fact box

Title: Sustainable multifunctional fertiliser – combining bio-coatings, probiotics and struvite for phosphorus and iron supply
Start: 1st May 2018
Duration: 5 years
Keywords: fertiliser, sustainability, agriculture, plant nutrition, phosphorus, iron, coating, probiotics, struvite
Budget: € 9.4 Million
BBI-JU funding: € 6.6 Million

Project partners

Coordination: RTDS Group, AT
Research partners: Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT): Scientific coordination, AT | University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), AT | University of Antwerp, BE
SMEs: Acies Bio, SI | ABiTEP, DE
Industry:  Agrana Research & Innovation Center (ARIC), AT | AGRANA Stärke, AT | AgroInnovation International (Roullier), FR | Timac Agro Düngemittel, AT | Sappi, NL/AT


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 792021.