Cristina Sudiro, Federico Guglielmi, Marie Hochart, Rossella Bortolaso, Andrea Ertani, Serenella Nardi, Adriano Altissimo
Today’s agriculture is called to face multiple challenges: to produce more, to cope with the rising food demand, to be more efficient to counter resource-scarcity and to preserve soils, water and air as well as human health. Plants for Plants (P4P) aims to improve resource efficiency of crops by introducing a new category of biostimulants. In actual practice, biostimulants are often a useful destination for waste materials or by-products, so the discovery of functional active ingredients is rather casual. P4P reverses this approach: first the problem is identified and then tailored compounds, based on specific Standardized Metabolites Phytocomplexes (SMPs) physically extracted from suitable organically grown plants, are produced and tested.
The developed biostimulants enhance crops’ ability to use water, nutrients and to get in a stronger physiological status. The LL002 biostimulant is based on a synergistic combination of flavonoids and organic acids: it increases resilience to abiotic stress, and in particular it boosts Water Use Efficiency leading to significant reduction of water deficiency symptoms and increased crop yield and quality. LL002 properties were demonstrated in controlled environments, using cutting-edge phenotyping technologies, biochemical and molecular tools, and in open-field trials on a wide variety of crops across Europe. It supports plants in water deficit by e.g. increasing root biomass in tomato, decreasing wilting in young corn plants and increasing yield in rainfed and poorly irrigated crops. Additionally, it showed positive results in so-called comfort environments proving that even plants grown in optimal conditions are far from exploiting all their genetic potential