Funding of the BIOFAIR project for a better resilience of European wheat agrosystems
The BIOFAIR project initiated by researchers from Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech has obtained a 1.9M€ funding from the European call BiodivERsA. This project aims to study the functioning of the roots of cultivated plants and the biological diversity of soils in a realistic simulated global change context. The aim is to provide recommendations on the most suitable future agricultural practices for wheat agro-systems.
The BIOFAIR project, initiated by Cécile Thonar, Pierre Delaplace and Hervé Vanderschuren will last for three years and is in partnership with the University of Hohenheim (Germany), the University of Ghent, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL Switzerland and FiBL Europe), the INRAE of Clermont Ferrand (France) and the CSIC of Almería (Spain).
The specificity of this project lies in the way the impact of climate change on cultivated plants is studied. Indeed, current studies generally focus on plant physiology, while the BIOFAIR project involves as well studies on root functioning and soil biodiversity in a realistic and simulated climatic context.
In Gembloux, the experiments will be performed in the Ecotron of the TERRA Teaching and Research Center. Field trials will also be implemented in France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium to assess the impact of abiotic stresses and new agronomic practices on wheat development and soil diversity and functioning.
Several objectives are targeted at the end of this project. It will contribute to measure, inter alia, the impact of climate change on the nutritional and technological quality of grains. Different types of soils, submitted to climate change, will be used and assessed. The project will also (1) highlight the agronomic innovations that are best adapted to future climate changes, and (2) provide recommendations on the most efficient and resilient agronomic practices.
The results of the BIOFAIR project will serve as a basis for the development of crop management strategies at European and national levels. The innovations and knowledge generated will also feed into ongoing Plant Sciences research in tropical regions where soil management and plant nutrition are essential levers for improving food security.
To find out more about the project: