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Stabil’eau Terreau: Impact of biological stability on growing media

June 19, 2024

Our Innovation team is dedicated to the Green Growth Raw Materials (GGRM) programme, focusing on developing new materials for sustainable and innovative growing media. In addition to our internal efforts, we collaborate with universities and research institutions to gain deeper insights into the properties of these new materials.

Beyond individual collaborations, we participate in several public-private partnership (PPP) projects. These precompetitive research initiatives bring together industry players to tackle sector-wide challenges, with government support to share part of the costs. While most of our PPP projects are based in the Netherlands, we would like to highlight a French one in this article. One of our notable projects in France is the “Stabil’eau Terreau” project. This initiative is led by the Research Unit EPHor at the Institut Agro Rennes-Angers and is supported by the French government. The project started in May 2023 and will run until April 2025.

“Stabil’eau Terreau” cleverly combines the French words for stability (Stabil’), water (eau), and substrate (Terreau). The project addresses the increasing demand for soilless plant production in horticulture, driven by global food demands and urban living conditions.

The goal of Stabil’eau Terreau is to test sustainable alternatives to peat, such as pine bark, wood fibres, and green waste composts. These alternatives, however, present challenges due to their variable biological stability, which can affect water retention and drainage. The project’s aim is to study how the biological degradation of these substrates influences their physical properties and to adapt irrigation practices accordingly. This innovative approach is crucial for developing the high performance growing media of the future.

Through our involvement in projects like Stabil’eau Terreau, Kekkilä-BVB continues to lead the way in sustainable horticultural practices, ensuring that our customers can benefit from the best possible growing media for their plants. Together, we are contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for all.

Photo credit: Jean-Charles Michel and Stan Durand of the Research Unit EPHor Physical Environment of Horticultural Plants.