Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
BOOST FUND 2.0 project P3roLucas

Optimization of plant performance and products for lupin cascade use

@ foto: böhringer friedrich, CC BY-SA 2.5


The transition from fossil carbon-based economy to a sustainable bio-carbon based economy requires transdisciplinary efforts to improve processes and products along the entire supply chain. In P3roLucas scientists from three BioSC research areas and one cross-cutting topic will imple-ment this major goal by introducing lupin as superior crop to North-Rhine Westphalia´s agricul-ture. This innovation will base on novel expert knowledge on accelerated cultivation practices and the utilization in cascades to synthesize high-value compounds.
Lupin is a valuable source for high grade and healthy protein for human food and provides an attractive alternative to (GMO-)soybean from international markets as feed. Lupin cultivation was popular in Germany up to the early 1990s, but due to the disease anthracnose caused by the fungus Colletotrichum lupini, which can lead to total yield losses, farmers have resigned from this crop. P3roLucas will overcome this major constraint by investigating the capacity of bio-stimu-lants to protect lupin against this threat. In cooperation with the small–medium breeding company Saatgut Steinach, lupin genotypes will be selected that have an enhanced capacity to respond to bio-stimulants. Optimized combinations of lupin genotypes and bio-stimulants will have multiple beneficial features such as improved yield and biomass production as well as resilience against biotic and abiotic stresses. Investigation of the underlying molecular mechanisms of bio-stimu-lants action and their genotype interaction will support future breeding for varieties optimized for cultivation supported by bio-stimulants. Lupins are known as “sweet” (alkaloid-poor) or “bitter” (alkaloid-rich) variants. While the sweet cultivars are easier to use in human consumption, in the bitter genotypes alkaloids must be removed process-technically. However, this hitherto waste stream will be upcycled as valuable source in our cascade approach where we will extract rare and important (pre)chiral compounds such as sparteine. To capture lupin cultivation most com-prehensively, P3roLucas will promote the usage of sweet and bitter lupin varieties. With bitter lupins, farmers can implement the ecological demand of insect-friendly focal areas with the pro-spect of possible commercialization as meat surrogate. Although this should convince farmers per se to switch to lupin cultivation, P3roLucas will investigate potential determinants of farmers’ adoption of sweet and bitter lupin. In P3roLucas we will develop a pipeline from lupin cultivation and a cascade use by conversion of its alkaloids to high-value compounds and the final usage for food and/or feed.

BOOST FUND 2.0 Coordinator

Dr. Marco Löhrer
Bio3 - Institute of Plant Physiology, RWTH Aachen



Prof. Dr. Schaffrath & Dr. Löhrer, Bio3 - Institute of Plant Physiology, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Usadel & Dr. Wiese-Klinkenberg, IBG-4: Bioinformatics, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Pietruszka & Dr. Classen, IBOC - Bioorganic Chemistry, HHU Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Hartmann & Dipl.-Oecotroph. Klink-Lehmann, ILR - Agricultural and Food Market Research, University of Bonn


Funding period

01.07.2022 - 30.06.2025



P3roLucas 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.