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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-01-01 - 2021-12-31

Development on 100% bio-based NFC regarding formulations (e.g. fiber types) and processing (e.g. injection moulding and extrusion are in the focus) will be continued. Processes for the post-treatment of moulded parts by brushing, painting, coating, printing will be further evaluated. Extension of the permanent accompanying literature study with reference to new bioplastics and production of filaments for 3D printing.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-10-17 - 2025-10-16

NETmicroplastic will establish an international network of experts and stakeholders in the field of microplastic research in agricultural soils and technological solutions to microplastic pollution, elaborating on harmonized methodologies for sample extraction and microplastic quantification to compare abundance of microplastic in different regions. Technological solutions in this network focus on sustainable alternatives to nondegradable conventional plastic (e.g., PE, PP) mainly biopolymers and bioplastics, such as PLA or starch-based blends.

This project aims to evaluate the integrated crop-livestock production system with poultry. The project can positively contribute to farm animals’ welfare, biodiversity maintenance and species conservation while supporting cultivators and ensure high food quality. In this project, laying hens are taking as example for free range poultry. Typically, most hens do not use the available free range area under free range conditions, but instead stay close to the henhouse. This leads to increased social stress among birds, as well as eutrophication and overexploitation of the free range area. At the same time, farmers experience restriction to use the sub-utilized land by hens in another way and are thus confronted with land loss. Moreover, in the last decades, intensification of agriculture lead to a substantial biodiversity decline in cultivated landscapes. Connected with this, a decline in insect diversity and population was observed. Insects represent an important feed for other animals and contribute to ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. However, by turning hen runs into rotational grazing pastures and introducing enriched structures via diverse, native plants (i.e. hedges), farmers can positively contribute to animal welfare, but most important, to preserve biodiversity using the production system to provideecosystem services at the same time. Enriched hen free range area attract a higher number of insects species that provide us with fundamental goods (nutrient recycling, pollination) and thus realize implementations of principles of the EISA (2001) and CBD (1993). In addition, farmers can enhance their image and economical success using the free range area for e.g. energy crops (silphie, miscanthus, etc), timber, christmas trees), contributing to CO2-neutral operation of the farm. Futhermore, hens start using larger parts of their free range areas when well structured, reducing stress induced by social interactions or predation pressure. Hens have access to a larger diversity of plants and insects representing also additional protein sources. Therefore, an adequate and adapted surrounding for free ranged hens have positive effects on their development, health and thus quality of meat and eggs. Additionally, plants in the well-structured free range area contribute to nitrogen fixation, reduce soil erosion and prevent over fertilization. Farmers are confronted with several statutory provisions. Often these legal regulations are not adequate for the hens nor they are a good solution for the farmers. Especially smallhold farmers suffer under ever-changing provisions and formal challenges. The implementation of integrated crop-livestock systems and rotational grazing represent a comprise between ecological and economical needs, a sustainable and future-orientated solution for nature conservation and successful agriculture.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations