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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-02-01 - 2020-09-30

The goal of this project is the research, implementation and evaluation of autonomous technologies pertaining to a modular robotic system that can fully autonomously perform mechanical hoeing. The first innovative concept is the application of an image synthesis framework for generating large data set for training deep learning classifiers for agricultural purposes, allowing for novel methods of crop localization, characterization and re-identification of individual plants. The second innovative concept is the real-time augmentation of SLAM generated maps with semantic segmentation output, allowing for the development of enhanced obstacle detection. The final innovative concept is enhanced path- and mission-strategies that allow for raising and lowering of a robotic hoeing implement, crop row following and turning the vehicle at the end of crop rows with the final aim of achieving full field coverage. Finally, the developed methods are integrated on a robotic platform, evaluated and demonstrated in fully autonomous field tests.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-11-01 - 2022-10-31

While many plants strongly accumulate silicon (Si) in their biomass, Si is no essential nutrient for most plants, but is beneficial in alleviating environmental stresses (plant diseases, herbivory, drought, metal toxicity). After Si uptake and translocation to the plant shoot, it is concentrated and precipitated in the leaves due to transpiration, forming amorphous SiO2 bodies (phytoliths). These phytoliths are returned to the soil in plant litter and harvest residues, and are, together with amorphous SiO2 precipitated from the soil porewater, the main bioavailable Si fraction in soil. By exporting phytoliths from the field to-gether with the crop and harvest residues (straw), and by increased erosion rates, agriculture has a strong impact on plant-available soil Si and the terrestrial Si cycle. Although there is currently a strong research focus on soil Si dynamics (e.g. global biogeochemical Si cycling, agricultural impact on bioavailable soil Si), many aspects of plant-soil Si interactions are not well understood. This applies particularly to the Si biogeochemistry of soils of the temperate region, and to the impact of biota, such as plant roots and earthworms, on labile soil Si fractions and soil Si solubilisation. There is a strong need for closing these knowledge gaps in order to avoid decreases in crop yields and quality, to enhance the sustainability of agricultural production in future, and to close the terrestrial and global Si cycles. Therefore this project aims (1) at using innovative infinite sink extraction methods combined with elemental and isotopic fingerprinting for quantifying plant-available Si pools and their mineral origin, (2) and at studying the effects of root exudates and (3) earthworms on soil Si solubilisation and plant-availability.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-06-01 - 2023-05-31

European food production has large potential to reduce its dependence on imported mineral P fertilisers and fossil energy consumption to produce N fertilisers by taking full advantage of under-used nutrient-rich organic side-streams. This requires common efforts that can be facilitated by the framework, actions and legislation within EU. The Lex4Bio project aims to guide the transition and system change from mineral to bio-based fertilisation by collecting and processing nutrient stock, flow and deficiency data, reviewing the required technological solutions and considering the economic and social benefits and limitations for bio-based fertilisation to become as fluent as the present use of mineral fertilisers. Currently Western Europe has a positive and Eastern Europe negative P balances. In Lex4Bio the present nutrient flows and regional requirements for fertilisers are estimated by harmonized methods in order to form the firm knowledge needed to set up the most realistic ways to channel the nutrient flows where needed. This is followed by presenting classifications of the best available technologies for producing regionally tailored bio-based fertilisers to secure environmental protection and food and human safety. In Lex4Bio, the knowledge, data bases and recommendations will be gathered and processed together with stakeholders providing best solutions for decreasing the dependency on imported fertilisers and closing the nutrient cycles.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations