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Objectives of the Leibniz Research Initiative

Boden·Pflanze·Mensch (BPM) | Soil·Plant·Human Interactions

The initiative investigates the sustainable production of high-quality plant-based food with optimised nutrients and active ingredients. Plant-based foods contain not only essential nutrients, but also many health-promoting active ingredients, which are categorised as “secondary plant metabolites” or “phytochemicals”. The quantities of nutrients and active ingredients contained in plants can be specifically increased through breeding and sustainable cultivation methods. The plan is to use innovative industrial processing methods to subsequently extract them and make them available for human nutrition and health in an optimal form. The fundamental requirement for this is an optimal interaction between the plants and the soil environment, for example for the best possible supply with mineral nutrients. Taken up via the root, they serve as building blocks for the synthesis of valuable active ingredients in the plant.
The aim is to use the life-enhancing potential of plants for human consumption more efficiently and more sustainably than before - by developing better cultivation concepts, sustainable production methods and using innovative processing methods to produce plant-based foods with optimised active ingredients. To this end, scientists are investigating the relationships between soil, plant and human nutrition and health in interdisciplinary collaborative projects.
 Objectives of the Leibniz Research Initiative:

  • Develop strategies to prevent soil fatigue in order to sustainably safeguard or reestablish soil health
  • Understand the signal processing processes in the soil-plant interaction, for example for enhanced nutrient uptake from the soil or for interactions involving metabolism and photosynthesis
  • Develop sustainable methods for producing the plants while at the same time fortifying the ingredients of nutritional and physiological value.
  • Identify and analyse valuable nutrients and active ingredients in plant components
  • Develop gentle industrial processing methods in order to conserve ingredients of nutritional and physiological importance in a form which humans can easily process
  • To use plant-based active ingredients in human nutrition