Industry Projects

ARC Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers

The Thomas Elder Institute is proud to be a partner in the multidisciplinary Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers at the University of Melbourne, which will develop a new class of fertilisers and inhibitors for Australian farmers.

At a glance

  • Project name: Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers
  • Partners: University of Melbourne, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, LaTrobe University, Elders.
  • Location: School of Agriculture and Food, University of Melbourne (Parkville campus)
  • Project commenced: 6 September 2021
  • Project ends:
  • Objective: To develop a new class of more sustainable ‘smart fertilisers’ to improve nitrogen efficiency, while minimising the environmental impact of productive agriculture.

How the project works

To improve fertiliser efficiency, Hub researchers will apply plant and soil science, chemistry and chemical engineering to develop new biochemical inhibitors and ‘smart fertilisers’ that respond to rhizosphere signals to minimise nitrogen losses. These innovations aim to increase the efficiency of nitrogen use by up to 20 per cent, making a significant contribution to agriculture and the environment.

The Hub’s mission also includes developing evidence-based estimates of environmental and health costs of nitrogen losses and the social benefits of new fertilisers to inform government policy, industry and the community.

The ARC Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers seeks to:

  • Develop a new class of fertilisers using innovative engineered coatings to regulate release of nitrogen for a range of intensive agricultural systems
  • Develop new urease and nitrification inhibitors and a new dual action urease-nitrification inhibitor
  • Gain new insights into how the root biome integrates signals from plants and soil to optimise nutrient capture and use and incorporate the signaling molecules into fertiliser coatings to improve the resistance of a crop to drought, pathogens and diseases
  • Maximise sector-wide value from new knowledge and technologies through the development of engagement and adoption strategies and the measurement of net value-add and co-benefits
  • Measure, validate and demonstrate the agronomic, environmental, and social impacts of these new fertiliser products.

Learn about our other industry projects.

Header image courtesy of Incitec Pivot Fertilisers. 

Need more information?

For more information including how you can partner with us, please call Dr Michael Wilkes, Head of Thomas Elder Institute on 0438211247.

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