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Grant for research into sustainable orange cultivation – in collaboration with Brazil

06 April 2022
a sick orange plant
a sick orange plant

Dirk-Jan Scheffers (Professor of Molecular Microbiology) and Peter Deuss (Professor of Chemical Engineering) together with Dr. Henrique Ferreira have been awarded a grant of EUR 700,000 from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and NWO. The grant comes from the Cooperation Brazil - the Netherlands and is part of the so-called Merian Fund. Scheffers, Deuss and Ferreira (State University of São Paulo at Rio Claro) will focus on sustainable orange cultivation through controlled release of antibacterial compounds from microgel-based formulations. The project will contribute to the knowledge about sustainable biomass production for a biobased economy by conducting multidisciplinary research focusing on sustainable use of landscape.

The coordination of the Groningen activities lies with Dirk-Jan Scheffers of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB) and Peter Deuss of the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (ENTEG). They receive EUR 280,000 for their part in the project, which enables them to appoint a postdoc and part-time analyst. There are six other partners, consisting of universities and companies, including Maastricht University.

Sustainable orange cultivation

Copper salts are commonly used in (organic) agriculture to combat bacterial and fungal pests, but they accumulate in soil and have detrimental effects on crops and soil. In this project, Scheffers and Deuss, together with the partners, will develop and test sustainable pesticides in combination with new microgel-based dosing technologies. The testing will be executed in orange cultivation, because oranges are one of the most important agricultural crops in Brazil. Brazil produces more than half of all orange juice concentrate worldwide. Finally, both the effectiveness in protection against plant diseases and the effect on the soil are evaluated.

Merian Fund

The Merian Fund is a fund for international cooperation with upcoming science countries. Research collaboration from the Merian Fund aims to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The Merian Fund cooperates with partners in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa.

Henrique Ferreira (left) and Dirk-Jan Scheffers (right)
Henrique Ferreira (left) and Dirk-Jan Scheffers (right)
Last modified:21 April 2022 10.15 a.m.
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