Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
BOOST FUND Project PrimACs

Priming-Active Compounds for Plant Protection


To supply the future world population with food, crop production needs to double by 2050. The required boost in crop yield largely depends on effective plant protection, which is mostly achieved today with synthetic agrochemicals. These, however, raise ecological and health concerns. Sustainable chemicals that prime the plant immune system for enhanced defense and disease resistance are promising for eco-friendly crop protection. Priming, in contrast to direct defense activation, does not run up a major fitness bill and is less prone to pest or pathogen adaptation. Thus, triggering priming by chemicals represents a promising means for sustainable pest and disease control. In this project, we developed a novel high-throughput screen that employs thale cress(Arabidopsis thaliana)seedlings in microtiter plates and a respiration activity-monitoring system (RAMOS) to spot priming-inducing chemistry. The suitability of the system was first verified with parsley cell cultures before it was transferred to Arabidopsis seedlings. In total, we tested 76 compounds of which eight were identified as priming-active compounds in cultured parsley cells. One of these compounds (so-called RT_Tyr020) was synthesized during the project. Its mode of action has been disclosed in Arabidopsis. Six most promising compounds are currently being assessed by an industry partner.

Participating Core Groups

Prof. Dr. Uwe Conrath

Co-PI: PD Dr. Ulrich Schaffrath
Institut für Pflanzenphysiologie (Biologie III)
RTWH Aachen University
52056 Aachen
Phone: +49 241 80 - 26540

Prof. Dr. Jochen Büchs
, Lehrstuhl für Bioverfahrenstechnik, RWTH Aachen University
Prof. Dr. Jörg Pietruszka, Institut für Bioorganische Chemie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

Funding period
01.11.2015 – 31.10.2017

The total budget of PrimACs is € 592.740. PrimACs is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Worgull, D, Öhler, L, Strache, JP, Friedrichs, T, and Ullrich, P (2017) Enantioselective synthesisof 2,3-dihydrofurans via ammonium ylides. Eur J Org Chem, 6077-6080.