Creation of a sustainable and cross-border agro-system: CEDRIC, Interreg Italy-Austria collaboration

18 March 2024 – The CEDRIC kick off meeting took place at ICGEB Trieste, Italy, with the aim to strengthen microbial biodiversity and thus the fertility of low-yielding agricultural soils.

CEDRIC aims to strengthen the biodiversity of those areas/soils that have lost fertility by restoring their microbiological biodiversity, which is essential for soil fertility. Inspired by the success of human microbiome transplantation, CEDRIC aims to transplant, in poor and/or exploited soils, microbiomes of healthy plant roots to act on the soil structure, microbiology, nutrient density and on overall soil carbon levels.

Prof. Vittorio Venturi, Group Leader of Bacteriology Group at ICGEB Trieste and leader of the project explains: “The transplantation of plant microbiome represents not only an opportunity for the development of sustainable agronomic practices but also a unique opportunity for the creation of long-term cross-border collaborations bringing together researchers, farmers and industry.”

At the kick off meeting in Trieste, representatives from all partners involved were present, comprising the three universities: Università di Udine, Free University of Bolzano, Innsbruck University, the three companies: SICIT Group, BioTreat GmbH and Hechenbichler GmbH, and the associated partner Ersa.

CEDRIC will focus on three axes:

  • Establishing a cross-border scientific collaboration alliance to develop and validate root microbiome transplantation methods;
  • The creation of a cross-border platform for agricultural stakeholders that promotes the exchange of scientific results and the use of sustainable methods in agricultural production;
  • The development of a training program that enables agricultural professionals to understand the role of a healthy microbiome in soil ecosystems and the associated benefits.

Participants from across the consortium (7 project partners and 1 associated partner) came together to discuss the details of project implementation and its ambitious goals. With a duration of two years (2024-2026) and with a budget of over 1.1 million euro, CEDRIC will be supported by the European Union with a funding of approximately 70% of the total costs.

Preliminary studies on the potential of plant microbiome transplantation are present in recent scientific literature and CEDRIC will translate this idea from research benches to fields. The success of CEDRIC’s approach will also allow for a lower use of chemical fertilizers, reducing the environmental impact of normal agricultural practices. Cross-border cooperation provides skills that are difficult to identify at the local level, combining excellence in the sectors necessary to achieve the result. To realize its idea, CEDRIC will also create a cross-border platform of stakeholders to discuss and share bottom-up approaches and experiences. A Forum Platform will be offered to strengthen the agricultural and biotech community through the creation of manuals of Good Agricultural Practices.