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



SUSFERT in the news

Struvite: Phosphorus recovery for Bio-based fertilizers

SUSFERT consortium members University of Antwerp, Groupe Roullier, Timac Agro, and Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) recently published a systematic comparison of commercially produced struvite looking at the quantities, qualities and soil-maize phosphorus availability in Science Direct.  The publication analyses struvite from 30% of the 80 worldwide installations, and while current struvite production is limited, it demonstrates […]

Delighted to see four of our #SUSFERT partners in top #BBI organisations in Austria list presented today by FFG @AITtomorrow2day @BOKUvienna @SappiEurope @RTDS_Group
h J R
@RTDS_Group: 📢As the most successful Austrian organisation in @BBI2020 projects we are tasked with bringing together innovative #biotechnology companies and researchers with the aim to be #climateneutral by 2050💚 🤙Get in touch to be part of the next #successstory
h J R
The Horizon Papers - draft Horizon Europe work programmes available to download. #SUSFERT and #RTDS_Group closely following developments of the EU’s research framework programme #HorizonEurope aiming to boost innovation in Europe until 2027 and beyond.
h J R
SUSFERT proud to embrace #InternationalDayOfWomenInScience with our team of female scientists pioneering #Sustainability in fertilisers. 👩‍🔬👏
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.

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)

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.

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.

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.