Larger harvest yields, higher quality, lower costs, and environmental protection: a nitrate bio-sensor developed by researchers at RUB has the potential to achieve all these goals. The sensor, which can be used by farmers directly in the field, is about to go into production: to this end, Prof Dr Nicolas Plumeré and Dr Tobias Vöpel have been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for the period of one and a half years.
One drop of plant juice is enough
The ERC Proof of Concept Grant supplements the ECR Research Grants. It is awarded solely to researchers who are already funded by an ERC Grant and who are planning pre-commercial deployment of the research results gathered in the course of their projects. Under the umbrella of the ERC Starting Grant, Nicolas Plumeré and Tobias Vöpel developed the nitrate sensor, which is only marginally bigger than a Cent coin and on which disposable electrodes have been printed. It determines the nitrate concentration in soil by analysing one drop of plant juice within seconds and sends the result to the farmers’ smartphones.