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Produce biopesticides or bio-based fertilisers as components of sustainable agricultural management plans (1) - BBI.2018.SO3.D4
Deadline: 06 Sep 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Horizon 2020

 Fisheries and Food
 Sustainable Development

Specific Challenge:

Biopesticides are pesticides derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria and certain minerals2.They can improve the management of pests for sustainable agricultural management programmes, by combatting only the targeted pest and closely related organisms, making them sometimes more selective than conventional pesticides. If in addition they are effective in small quantities and decompose quickly, they can greatly reduce the use of conventional (synthetic) pesticides.

The components that can be used to produce biopesticides have also anti-pathogenic capabilities: they are able to prevent biomass degradation by fungi, bacteria or other kinds of pathogenic agents. Upscaling their use for biopesticides requires sustainable supply and optimum production.

Sustainable agricultural management programmes also entail the supply of nutrients to crops. The existing supply of nutrients can be expanded and diversified by tapping side streams from bio-based operations. These streams are nutrient-rich and moreover, are a zero-ILUC (indirect land use change) feedstock for fertilisers3, nutrients and plant biostimulants. However, current practice is to spread them on the land with little pre-treatment. This practice is wasting a potentially valuable resource and is often not the most effective and efficient way to add nutrients and carbon to the soil. Further development work is needed to optimise the separation and purification of these streams and expand their use in nutrient mixtures for the targeted soil conditions.

Sustainable agricultural management can greatly benefit from the contribution of new, bio-based pesticides and fertilisers.

The specific challenge of this topic is to overcome hurdles in the production of biopesticides and bio-based fertilisers to benefit sustainable agricultural management.

1 See also Horizon 2020 SC2 topic CE-RUR-08-2018-2019-2020 C[2020]: Bio-based fertilisers from other by-products of the agro-food, fisheries, aquaculture or forestry sectors (IA).

2 According to the UK Health and Safety Executive, “biopesticides are plant protection products which contain biological control agents (microbials, pheromones, plant extracts etc.) for use as agricultural, horticultural and home garden pesticides.“ The FAO describes biopesticides (biological pesticides) as ”a generic term, not specifically definable, but generally applied to a biological control agent, usually a pathogen, formulated and applied in a manner similar to a chemical pesticide, and normally used for the rapid reduction of a pest population for short-term pest control“. [International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures 1 to 24, 2005]

3 The term ’fertilisers’ should be understood in a broad sense. The Commission proposal for the revised Fertiliser Regulation COM(2016) 157provides access to the internal market to a broad range of fertilising products including mineral, organo-mineral and organic fertilisers, soil improvers, growing media and plant biostimulants. Certain substances, mixtures and micro-organisms, commonly referred to as plant biostimulants, are not as such nutrients, but nevertheless stimulate plants' nutrition processes by improving plant nutrition efficiency, plant resistance to abiotic stress, and crop quality. They could play a significant role to improve the sustainability of arable land.


Demonstrate the production of effective and cost-efficient biopesticides or fertilisers from sustainable biomass sources. Proposals should address either biopesticides or fertilisers.

Proposals should tackle the efficient sourcing, biochemical characterisation and extraction of appropriate fractions or compounds; the separation and purification of the desired stream; and the optimal and safe production of the standardised final bioactive products.

Proposals should include an experimental validation stage, assessing the effect of the developed products on the targeted crop(s). Proposals should also compare the application of the developed bio-products and conventional (synthetic) products to relevant soil types and growing conditions.

Proposals should address the elimination of hurdles and bottlenecks, transport modes regarding the logistics and associated infrastructure in the targeted biomass feedstock supply systems. These include collection systems, intermediate storage and safety aspects (see also introduction – section 2.2.5 - published in the BBI JU AWP 2018).

Proposals should carefully assess the potential occupational health risks and environmental impacts associated with the production and use of the developed products. Any potential hazards associated with the developed processes and products should be analysed to ensure that the products comply fully with REACH1 legislation and other toxicity requirements, safety requirements and any relevant EU legislation.

Proposals should commit to assessing the environmental and economic impacts of the developed products or processes, using LCA methodologies based on available standards, certification, accepted and validated approaches (see also introduction – section 2.2.5 - published in the BBI JU AWP 2018)2. If applicable, proposals should also analyse the social impacts.
Proposals should be based on a sound business case and business plan.

If relevant, proposals should also allow for pre- and co-normative research necessary for developing the needed product quality standards.

The technology readiness level (TRL)3 at the end of the project should be 6. Proposals should clearly state the starting TRL.

Indicative funding:

It is considered that proposals requesting a maximum contribution EUR 7 million would be able to address this specific challenge appropriately. However, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

1 The Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, effective since 1 June 2007.

2 The LCA may focus on a set of critical issues early on to steer the development process in the right direction. In this case, it is essential that this selection is carefully explained in the proposal in order to allow for expert assessment.

3 Technology readiness levels as defined in annex G of the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme:

Expected Impact:

  • contribute to KPI 1: create at least one new cross-sector interconnection in bio-based economy;
  • contribute to KPI 2: set the basis for at least one new bio-based value chain;
  • contribute to KPI 6: create at least two new demonstrated ‘consumer’ products based on bio-based chemicals and materials that meet market requirements;
  • improve the overall sustainability of the value chains addressed;
  • when tackling biopesticides: demonstrate at least the same efficiency in pest control as the best available conventional pesticides for the same service; if there is no comparable conventional pesticide available for a targeted service, the new biopesticides should reduce feedstock loss by at least 10 %;
  • when tackling fertilisers: demonstrate at least the same efficiency in soil conditioning as the best available conventional fertilisers for the same service.

Type of action: Innovation action – demonstration action.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Cross-cutting Key-Enabling Technologies (KETs)

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