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Soils store carbon, water and nutrients for plants. They play an important role in the challenges of climate change, the circular economy, human and environmental health, and water resources.
Editorial office / Brussels

However, depletion, silting, degradation and contamination threaten soils in large parts of Europe. The biotech companies’ association EuropaBio underlines that industrial biotechnology solutions can be a valuable part of the toolbox for improving the health and fertility of soils. The association states this in a reaction to the EU Soil Strategy 2030. The Soil Strategy contains measures that can contribute to better soils and calls on the industry to offer solutions.

Sustainable crop production

Industrial biotechnology supports sustainable crop production and soil health and offers an alternative to fossil-based products. For example, agricultural biostimulants include various formulations of substances and micro-organisms that complement mineral fertilisers and are applied to plants or soils to improve crop vigour, yield, stress tolerance and quality. They do this by improving plant nutrition and soil health.

Industrial biotechnology-derived microbes and microbial products also act as biological crop protection agents, or biocontrols, and can help farmers protect plants from pests and diseases, including weeds. Bioherbicides are a valuable alternative to conventional pesticides. They help make agriculture more sustainable.

Biobased solutions

According to EuropaBio, good soil health and nutrition is an essential part of the circular bio-economy, in which bio-based solutions, derived from renewable raw materials and developed using industrial biotechnology, also play a role. For example, biodegradable and compostable plastics, both biobased and conventional, can also contribute to high-quality bio-waste. They are designed for specific applications and follow specific processes for end-of-life management, including separate collection and organic recycling. Bio-waste, in turn, can be used to produce high-quality compost and organic fertilisers that help restore soil organic carbon, increase soil fertility and combat desertification.

In Europe, large areas are threatened by land degradation. This runs counter to plans for climate-resilient agriculture, increased biodiversity and carbon farming. Maintaining and improving soil health must therefore be a priority. Methods and agricultural practices that increase the soil organic matter content should be applied and encouraged. At the same time, it is important to encourage, promote and finance the development of new innovations (e.g. new genomics techniques), says EuropaBio. Indeed, regulatory frameworks that enable innovative solutions support the achievement of the EU’s green ambitions promote innovation and foster growth.

For more information, please visit the EuropaBio website.

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