Purina supports 3-year research to explore the role of seaweed in regenerative agriculture

3 min read
  • Purina has announced it is supporting a consortium study aiming to explore the role of seaweed-based bio-stimulants on soil health and plant performance.
  • The 3-year study will test the potential impact of seaweed-based bio-stimulants on cereal crops and assess their ability to help the plants adapt to abiotic stress conditions while maintaining the yield.
  • Purina recognises that researching and piloting innovative nature-based solutions is critical in the journey towards regenerative agriculture and net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Purina has brought together a consortium of experts in seaweed bio-stimulants, plant health and soil science to launch a 3-year academic study on the possible role of seaweed-based bio-stimulants in regenerative agriculture. The study will evaluate the potential impact of seaweed-based bio-stimulants on plant performance and nutrition, as well as crop safety and quality. 

The study will be supported by on-farm field trials aiming to investigate how seaweed extracts applied to crops might improve soil health and plant responses to abiotic stresses (e.g. drought conditions), and evaluate the potential to reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer while maintaining yield.

In many regions of the world, food production relies on synthetic fertilizers, overuse of which can negatively impact soil health, biodiversity, water and air, as well as the climate. To address these challenges and, as part of Nestlé’s pledge to source 50% of its key ingredients from regenerative agriculture by 2030, Purina is exploring novel agricultural approaches.

Sheri Smithey, Head of Product and Technology Development for Purina said: “We must explore innovative solutions if we are to make progress against our climate goals. We are proud to be working with partners in researching the potential of seaweed-based bio-stimulants to help farmers and our supply chains adopt more regenerative agricultural practices .” 

Juli Plassmeyer, Vice President Global Marketing and Sustainability at Nestlé Purina Petcare, said: “Purina’s strong commitment to sustainability encompasses the transition to regenerative agricultural practises for our ingredient sourcing. We must explore novel solutions like these to help accelerate the transition.”

Seaweed brings the additional benefit of absorbing some of the carbon and excess nutrients flowing into the ocean, reducing the risk of ocean acidification, whilst promoting marine biodiversity. 

Sponsored by Purina, the study brings together an expert consortium led by Fera Science Ltd.  Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Plant Science group and the Kelp Forest Foundation will lead on the research side, with Agricarbon UK and NatureMetrics supporting field trials with soil carbon analysis and eDNA soil biodiversity testing. Two seaweed companies will provide the seaweed-based bio-stimulants.