Optimising bio-based fertilisers in agriculture - Providing a knowledge basis for new policies


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Objectives, impacts and benefits

Bio-based fertilisers (BBF) have the potential to transform the agricultural industry by minimising the environmental impact of existing fertilisers and improving sustainability through recycling of nutrient-rich side-streams (NRSS). The overall objective of LEX4BIO (Optimising bio-based fertilisers in agriculture – Providing a knowledge basis for new policies) is to realise this potential by decreasing European dependency on finite and imported, apatite-based phosphorus (P) fertilisers and energy-intensive mineral nitrogen (N) fertiliser. Specific objectives of LEX4BIO include mapping of regional distribution of NRSS available for producing BBFs and assess their potential and legal restrictions for replacing mineral N and P fertilisers, Identify novel BBFs for crop production and determine their effect on crop growth, soil quality and their nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizing value. Use of BBFs is evaluated through food safety, human health and environmental protection. Integrated ecological impacts over the entire lifecycle of the production and use of BBFs is evaluated together with logistic costs, public perceptions and political actions required for optimal use of BBFs.LEX4BIO provides 1) coherent policy framework for sustainable production and use of BBFs, 2) Replacement of conventional, non-renewable mineral fertilisers with BBFs and hence reduced external dependence and risks related to depletion, market variability, security and foreign policy, 3) balanced nutrient concentrations between or within regions, thus increasing resource efficiency and 4) reduced environmental impact linked to the dispersion of nutrients present in waste flows, or to the production of fossil-based fertilisers.