Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
SEED FUND 3.0 project RhamBO

Rhamnolipid field application for sugar beet protection and feasibility of microbial production using overpressure

Project: RhamBO


Plants and their sustainable production are key elements of a functioning bioeconomy. Yield and quality of plants and thus of food, feed, and raw materials for diverse plant-based processes are significantly affected by plant pathogens worldwide. To counteract losses caused by biotic stresses, novel, environmentally friendly, and safe ways to facilitate sustainable agri- and horticulture are urgently required. Microbial secondary metabolites are a rich source of bioactive molecules that can be used as such or serve as chemical platform molecules for developing plant protection products with favourable characteristics. We found that low amounts of rhamnolipids (RLs) significantly protect plants against plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs). After achieving the proof-of-principle, we strive to contribute to the implementation of this strategy in agriculture. In RhamBO we will thus carry out first field experiments to verify the applicability of RLs to protect the important cultivar sugar beet from plant pathogens and pests.

Since the production of RLs (being surfactants) leads to heavy foaming in aerated fermenters, we will here also establish a production procedure on a technical scale (100 L). Preliminary experiments suggest that overpressure applied to the fermenter impedes foaming enough to carry out fed-batch runs. With the expertise and equipment of CG NGP2 Biorefinery we will here show the feasibility of this approach for the production of at least 100 g of RLs. This includes RL that are even not available commercially.

SEED FUND 3.0 Coordinator

Dr. Till Tiso
iAMB - Institute of Applied Microbiology
RWTH Aachen
email: Till.Tiso[at]



Dr. Sylvia Schleker & Prof. Florian Grundler, INRES - Molecular Phytomedicine, University of Bonn
Dr. Jörn Viell, AVT – NGP2 Biorefinery, RWTH Aachen
Tobias Karmainski, Dr. Till Tiso & Prof. Lars M. Blank, iAMB - Institute of Applied Microbiology, RWTH Aachen


Funding period

01.10.2023 - 30.09.2025



RhamBO 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.