Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy
SEED FUND 2.0 project QuantiP

P-quantification in vivo and in vitro by Raman spectroscopy and NMR

Phosphate is a main component of fertilizers and therefore essential to feed humankind. Subsequently, recycling concepts for phosphorus are a key request to ensure a self-sustaining food production in Europe and to avoid rapid depletion of concentrated natural deposits. QuantiP will contribute to phosphate stewardship by developing a novel P-quantification platform which will strengthen the development of P-recovery concepts. QuantiP aims to achieve a sophisticated and unmatched quantification of P-storage forms through combination of technologies (31P-NMR spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy). The  quantification and discrimination between P-storage molecules - in algae and yeast cells as well as in enzymatic treated plant materials samples - will be implemented to allow monitoring the P-uptake in algae, the determination of P-content in plant materials from phytate hydrolysis (e.g. rapeseeds press cakes) and polyphosphate accumulation (yeast and algae). QuantiP delivers a valuable and needed tool for precise research of P dynamics - facilitating evolution of green chemistry processes to green-P from renewable resources.

What is the relevance and the impact for the Bioeconomy?

Nutrient cycling has become a crucial factor in effective resource use for plant management in modern agriculture. The essential plant nutrient Phosphor (P) is a finite resource1 gained almost exclusively by rock mining outside Europe, which creates a strong dependency to the value market and directly influences farmers’ yields. Additionally, considerable amounts of phosphate leach into water or accumulate (58% of the fields in NRW are saturated) in the soil as fixed inorganic P forms or as for plant and animals indigestible form (phytate)2, leading to significant impact on the environment (e.g. water eutrophication, to which regard stricter regulations will have to be met in future). Important is the re-use of Phosphorus for fertilizing due to its unequal and limited global distribution and the entry of heavy metals into food chains by mineral P fertilization. This P stewardship is relevant in an integrated bioeconomy to ensure a sufficient and safe food production for a growing world population3. QuantiP covers the BioSC Focus Topic Area Smart management for plant performance, by working toward securing sustainable phosphorus usage. QuantiP contributes by supporting optimized P cycling and ensure the availability of green P for securing the food chain, delivering in this interdisciplinary approach a sensitive research tool: Key technologies for detection and quantification of the “P-chemical forms” (e.g. orthophosphate, polyphosphate, phosphomonoesters, phosphodiesters) in cells and production processes. Moreover, the 3rd BioSc Spotlight on P-recovery and cycling will take place in June 2018 which emphasizes the importance of the topic within BioSc.


SEED FUND 2.0 Coordinator

Dr. Anna Joelle Ruff
RWTH Aachen University
phone: +49 241 8023604



Dr. Ladislav Nedbal, Dr. Christina Kuchendorf, IBG-2 Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

Dr. Sabine Willbold, Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH


Funding period

01.11.2018 - 30.10.2019



The total budget of QuantiP is 67,619 €. QuantiP is is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.