Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy
FocusLab greenRelease

GreenRelease for Plant Health

Scientific Abstract

The main objective of the FocusLab greenRelease is to significantly reduce fungicide and herbicide usage and thereby contributing to a sustainable agriculture and bioeconomy. The greenRelease technology (developed in the BioSC projects: GreenGel, RIPE, and BiFuProts) will be further developed into a robust and applicable platform technology for plant health. To achieve this objective, the FocusLab greenRelease is divided into three areas: 1) Technology advancement & upscaling, 2) Validation for sustainable agriculture by focusing on two fungicides and two herbicides, and 3) Economic assessment by mapping of the knowledge base, technology transfer, and market entry options. The latter is aimed to be achieved by analyzing existing and developing novel value chains for innovations. The unique technical application characteristics of the greenRelease technology are based on properties of microgel containers (200 nm to 10 µm). Microgels are soft porous polymer colloids, which can be loaded with active ingredients and can attach through tailor-made anchor peptides on plant leaves at ambient temperature by simple spray applications. Main advantages of the greenRelease technology over existing release technologies are the controlled/triggered release of compounds over weeks/months, minimized losses due to a high rainfastness, plant compatibility, and tunable biodegradability.

What is the relevance for bioeconomy?

Reducing herbicide and fungicide usage contributes to a sustainable way of agricultural production which is a key request of the German National Research Strategy “Bioeconomy 2030”. The universal greenRelease technology will be validated for approved fungicides and herbicides with a high economic and societal impact. The research will focus on the protection of potato (Germany is the largest potato producer in EU based on yield), apple (most consumed temperate fruit crop in Germany), barley (Germany is among the top three producers worldwide) and sugar beet (economically the most important cash crop in the Rhineland region of NRW) plants.

The greenRelease technology development can only be addressed in an integrated approach by various expertise, crossing disciplinary boarders. In the FocusLab polymer chemists, protein engineers, computational pharmaceutical chemists, agricultural economists, and plant, agricultural as well as horticultural scientists join forces to develop a robust and applicable greenRelease technology which will contribute to significantly minimize herbicide and fungicide usage.



FocusLab coordinator

Dr. Felix Jakob
Chair of Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen University
& DWI – Leibniz-Institute for Interactive Materials
Forckenbeckstraße 50
52056 Aachen


Funding period

01.01.2018 – 31.12.2020


The total budget of the greenRelease FocusLab is € 2,337,095.00. The greenRelease FocusLab 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.

Most relevant publications from preliminary studies

Meurer, R. A., Kemper, S., Knopp, S., Eichert, T., Jakob, F., Goldbach, H. E., Schwaneberg, U., Pich, A. (2017). Biofunctional Microgel-Based Fertilizers for Controlled Foliar Delivery of Nutrients to Plants. Angewandte Chemie, 56, 7380-7386.

Rübsam, K., Stomps, B., Böker, A., Jakob, F., Schwaneberg, U. (2017) Anchor peptides: A green and versatile method for polypropylene functionalization. Polymer, 116, 124-132.

Nguyen, G.T.T., Erlenkamp, G., Jäck, O., Küberl, A., Bott, M., Fiorani, F., Gohlke, H., Groth, G. (2016) Chalcone-based Selective Inhibitors of a C4 Plant Key Enzyme as Novel Potential Herbicides. Scientific Reports 6: 27333.

Borge, L., Bröring S. (2017). Exploring effectiveness of technology transfer in interdisciplinary settings: The case of the bioeconomy. Creativity and Innovation Management 26 (3), 311-322.

Conrath, U., Beckers, G.J.M., Langenbach, C.J.G., Jaskiewicz, M.R. (2015) Priming for enhanced defense. Annual Review of Phytopathology 53: 97-119