Since the 1950s the use of chemical fertilisers has grown exponentially to cope with the increased consumption of food. The use of chemical fertilisers has led to environmental contamination, reduced biodiversity, disease prone plants, reduction of microbial organisms that support soil life, etc. Conversely, organic fertilizers improve soil structure, improve water retention, enhance soil fertility and can be easily broken down by microorganisms. Although methods to increase organic fertiliser use have been looked into over the last few decades, the cost of production, the amounts needed to sustain the growing population and the necessary technological innovation is lagging behind to compete and replace chemical fertiliser use.
Building on previous work by the consortium of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Protein Technologies Ltd, AlgaeCytes, Autonomous University of Baja California and Biorganix Mexicana, the NABAMA project will develop the use of microalgae as a sustainable source of high value organic compounds that help crop growth. Furthermore, NABAMA will identify the compounds responsible for the increased plant growth, characterise them and look to optimise their production for maximum crop growth.