EIP AGRI Project: AbDü - from waste to fertilizer
Every year, potato or onion production and the cultivation of outdoor vegetables produce many tons of non-marketable products. They go to biogas plants or are chopped up and plowed under in the field. An insect-based bioreactor is now being developed as an alternative. The larvae of the black soldier fly convert the substrate in just a few days and produce a high-quality fertilizer through their excretions. This is additionally enriched with a special chitosan, which in turn is extracted from the flies, pupae and skins of the black soldier fly (Hermetia Illucens). The discussion around chitosan as a soil amendment and plant fortifier is still in its early stages, but initial trials are promising. In addition, the process produces larvae that can be used as protein feed in poultry and pig farming.
ChiPro GmbH is implementing the project together with the University of Münster (a leader in chitosan research) and two agricultural companies: Behr AG and Brüning GbR (Worpsweder Perle). The project consortium received the funding notification from Miriam Staudte, Lower Saxony's Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, on 29.06.23. The project is funded over three years by the European Innovation Partnership "Productivity and Sustainability in Agriculture".
"As part of the AbDü project, we are building the first mobile bioreactor that farmers can set up wherever residual materials are currently being produced," explains Norman Breitling, who came up with the idea and is managing director of Bremen-based ChiPro GmbH. Professor Bruno Mörschbacher from the Institute for Plant Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Münster is investigating how the chitosan-enriched fertilizer works in field vegetable production. NAN is coordinating the project and handling public relations. "Together, we are thus making a contribution to strengthening the idea of a circular economy," emphasizes NAN's managing director, Hilmar Freiherr von Münchhausen.