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

SUSFERT welcomes new SME to project

AgroBiogel joins SUSFERT for remaining field trials to boost fertiliser effectiveness.

Young Researcher Impact Award – Weiß

Laccase enzyme research for fertilisers with less chemicals.

@CCRI_UK: Yesterday was #WorldSoilDay2022 & @cachivers was on @BBCGlos with @kitchtweet talking about the SoilPlastic app produced as part of @MinagrisEU 🌱📱 Listen again from 3h21m30s #SoilHealth #Microplastics #Agriculture @spotteron @uniofglos @EUAgri @EU_ENV
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@MicrobiomeEU: Opportunity 📢 Public consultation on the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda of the Sustainable Food Systems Partnership Help develop this document which will guide an EU-wide committed R&I partnership on sustainable, healthy & safe #FoodSystems 👉
h J R
🎉♻️SUSFERT is pleased to announce its new #partner @AgroBiogel to the #Consortium. AgroBiogel’s #Nutrigels into SUSFERT #fertilisers could have significant #impacts for #plant growth & #yield, #soil health, #drought & #climate solutions. 👇
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@RTDS_Webb: Mike Muegge @RTDS_Group presents our @CBE_JU project @SUSFERT_BBI and @agrobiogel at the @FCIO_ChemInd #biobased #industry #stakeholder event
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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.