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Concept and research project

The Leibniz Research Initiative “Soil·Plant·Human Interactions” ("Boden·Pflanze·Mensch", BPM in German) coordinated by the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Leibniz Universität Hannover aims to obtain a better understanding of the relationships between soil, plants and human health. It investigates how plants can be sustainably produced with a higher concentration of valuable active ingredients which can be used to produce high-quality plant-based foods. These will then be used not only to supply humans with all essential nutrients, but additionally to maintain their health through special health-promoting active ingredients (incl. products of the plant’s secondary metabolism) and have a preventative effect against chronic degenerative diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and dementia).

This interdisciplinary project is the first time pertinent research fields of the Faculty of Natural Sciences from soil science and botany through to chemistry and the food sciences have been brought together and bundled. Five collaborative projects located on different levels are currently integrated into this Leibniz Research Initiative:


The Research Initiative employs an innovative approach to address the issue of the sustainable production of high-quality plants, and focuses on four main questions:

  • How can the building blocks for ingredients of nutritional and physiological importance be brought into the plant in a highly efficient way (e.g. improving the uptake of mineral nutrients from the soil)?
  • How can high plant productivity be achieved while at the same time increasing the formation of nutrients and active ingredients?
  • How can plants be processed such that ingredients of nutritional and physiological importance are largely preserved and are present in a form which humans can easily process (“BioProcessing”)?
  • How do humans take up nutritive ingredients (bio-availability) and what health effects do these have in humans?