“Bio4safe: Unraveling the potential of biostimulants and plant monitoring tools to reduce water and nutrient consumption in horticulture”


The 2 Seas Region (coastal region across the southern North Sea and The Canal) is known for its intensive horticulture demanding significant amounts of water and nutrients. However, with climate change resulting in significant environmental pressures combined with economic stresses, water and fertilizer use efficiency must be drastically improved in order to sustain viable horticultural practices. The Bio4safe project aims to achieve this goal through the use of biostimulants (focus on seaweed-based biostimulants), which help increase nutrient use efficiency, tolerance against abiotic stress and/or quality of plants.

My research focusses on unraveling the interaction of biostimulants on whole plant physiology by using innovative plant sensors that monitor plants in real-time, allowing growers to reduce the use of water and fertilizers by 20 and 10% in the 2 Seas Region, respectively. The project focuses on demonstration trials with various horticultural crops (ornamentals, vegetables and fruits) in four countries (NL, FR, UK, BE) for three years. I am employed at both the Laboratory of Plant Ecology (Prof. Kathy Steppe) and the Laboratory of Horticulture (Prof. Marie-Christine Van Labeke) to efficiently conduct my research by combining their respective expertise.



Niels De BaerdemaekerDr. Niels De Baerdemaeker