Ficosterra‘s innovative Nutrialgae project was selected last March by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) as one of the nine exceptional solutions that will contribute to accelerating the fulfillment of the Objective of Sustainable Development 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
The Ficosterra management team wanted to share with Hugo Morán, the Secretary of State for the Environment, the characteristics of the first trials that have just started in Mexico and Morocco.
Luis Lombana has conveyed his gratitude to the Ministry’s interest in this initiative: “It is an honor for us to represent our country in the Ocean Innovation Challenge, to contribute and advance our expertise and to collaborate in the ecological transition of all areas of society. In our case, we apply the Circular Economy to our procedure, and we take advantage of the goods that nature provides us to improve our crops, reduce pollution, and help farmers have greater profitability ”.
A multidisciplinary team made up of 20 agricultural engineers, biotechnologists, laboratory technicians, and chemists from Ficosterra, the Hassan II University of Morocco, the Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education, and GN Agricultural Producers of Mexico, will coordinate the tests that will last until mid-2022.
For the research to be complete and applicable, Ficosterra will carry out two types of studies on broccoli: one of them will be in the laboratory, for which 50 pots will be used inside chambers with controlled environmental conditions. The other experimental design will be in the field on a large scale, ½ hectare, under real conditions of agricultural cultivation. In both cases, we will use the biostimulants made from seaweed extracts ficosagro® and cystium-k®, which are 100% natural in origin and certified for organic agriculture.
In these tests, different parameters will be measured. Among them is the weight of the plant with and without roots, the weight of the leaves, the supplied nitrogen, the supplied phosphorus, and the resulting leachate. To complete the study, the productivity of the crops will be measured, both on the treated surface and on the surface of the control.
With these data, we want to demonstrate that with biostimulant products made from seaweed extracts, crop yields can be increased by up to 15% on average, while reducing the contamination of the aquifers by leaching. If something reaches the sea, it is precisely what comes out of it, a circular process that transmits great benefits to agriculture and the environment.
It is estimated that about 13 million tons of phosphorus and nitrogen reach the sea annually due to excess fertilization of crops. These are some polluting elements that inevitably reach the ocean, seeping into aquifers, rivers, and seas, according to a study by the prestigious oceanographer and climatologist Seitzinger in 2010.
The innovative technology and solutions used by Ficosterra are created by and for sustainable agriculture; to promote the presence and development not only in our country but also in countries such as Morocco and Mexico, where it also aims to be a tool for development.
The biotechnological solutions considered by the Ficosterra’s Nutrialgae program also seek to give prominence to local farmers. That way, they are the first to experiment with cutting-edge technology in crop management and save on expenses compared to the use of conventional methods. On the other hand, these innovative solutions will also serve to be scaled up and open new job opportunities in these countries in the medium and long term.
In Spain, Ficosterra has been successfully testing its eco-friendly products for 4 years on alfalfa, blueberry, citrus, strawberry, potato, watermelon, and industrial tomato crops, in Andalusia (Almería and Huelva), Castilla y León (Burgos and Palencia), Valencia, and Murcia. This is thanks to collaborations with universities such as those of Almería, León, or Valladolid; research centers such as the Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA) of the CSIC or the Madrileño Institute for Research and Rural, Agrarian and Food Development (IMIDRA); and farmers and clients such as Guivarto in Almería and Valenzuela & CiA in Huelva. In these investigations, it has become clear that productivity increases between 6 and 15%, depending on the type of crop, in addition to the fact that the products apply to all types of agriculture (ecological, conventional, intensive, and extensive).
Cystium-k® is a liquid biostimulant made from Macrocystis pyrifera seaweed with a high content of polysaccharides that produce great benefits in both organic and conventional crops.
Cystium-k® is especially indicated as an anti-stress treatment for crops, stimulating the natural defenses of the plant.
Ficosterra’s exclusive product Cystium-k® is a result of the Ficosterra’s cystium technology. This is a technology that combines the benefits of the Macrocytis pyrifera seaweed, which is from the laminariaceae family and inhabits along the coasts of the American Pacific, forming dense forests of up to 60 m in height. It is considered the largest algae in the world, reaching average heights of 40 to 50 meters in length, and has a maximum daily growth rate of 60 cm/day. The size, along with the type of extraction that Ficosterra uses (osmotic to room temperature), and the seaweed’s high content of alginates and elicitors all play a part in Cystium-K®‘s success in crops.
In agriculture, alginates act like “sponges” capable of retaining a large amount of water in their molecular structure. This effect is essential during the months of heat and water stress since it is in these months that crops can experience dehydration of great magnitude that leads to a stop in production and even the death of the plant. The foliar applications of alginates help to retain part of the evapotranspired water to maintain the relative humidity of the crop in its vegetative mass.
The great advantage of alginates from the Macrocystis Pyrifera seaweed is its great capacity for water retention and its slow release to the crop, releasing it in small quantities to be reabsorbed by the crop.
Ficosagro® is a liquid biostimulant with extracts of algae and bio-regenerative microorganisms that can be applied to the crop by fertigation to promote the development and strength of the plant, enriching the biological potential of the soil.
The four families of microorganisms provided by the biostimulant Ficosagro® naturally digest the organic matter in the soil, while increasing the availability of nutrients in the plant and facilitating nutrient absorption.
The continued use of chemical-based fertilizers causes a significant deterioration of life in the soil, breaking its balance and causing a loss of competitiveness for the farmer.
The Biological Crop Booster (BCB) technology developed by Ficosterra allows the soil to return to the natural state of microbial life to improve the soil-plant relationship. To do this, it combines microbial complexes with algae extracts to achieve very high densities of soil regenerating microorganisms. Through a relationship of coexistence, microorganisms close the cycle of organic matter, digesting it and releasing the necessary nutrients for the recovery of soil fertility. These metabolic processes improve crop health, leading to healthier and more abundant crops.
Ficosagro® is a natural product, without elements of chemical synthesis or GMOs, certified organic by OMRI and Sohiscert, and is suitable for both organic and conventional crops.
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