The plant-based bioeconomy, i.e. the plant-based agricultural science, biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, and their basic social and economic conditions. With this unique combination of plant science and economics the WCH is trying to find solutions to solve the pressing social problems of our time as food security of a growing world population.
Plants are the basis of all life and the central column of bioeconomy, which becomes obvious by the fact that terms as "Green Growth" or "Green Economy" are used as synonyms for bioeconomy. The human being depends on plant resources and its evolution is linked with the ability to use them, on the one hand by the systematic cultivation of food and feed, and on the other hand plants are of great importance as supplier of material and energy. Plants are the raw material of fossil fuels, are basis of renewable resources and not at least provide an important source of compounds for basic chemical materials in the food, chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Due to the multiple fields of application there is a growing competition for the limited cultivable land or grassland, as well as water and nutrients. In addition, the agricultural and industrial production of plant raw materials needs a lot of energy, emits climate-damaging compounds and contributes to the eutrophication of waterbodies and nitrate contamination of groundwater. Considering these challenges, the Arbeitsgruppe Pflanzen (plant working group) of the BioÖkonomieRat (bioeconomy council) has formulated in its 2010 Report the following goals:
- establishment of a plant production backed by research, which can guarantee the feeding of the world population by 2050
- effective use of the natural resources and simultaneously ensuring their continued existence for future generations
- establishment of sustainable bio-based technologies in industry and energy business, and thus contributing to the reduction of the dependence on fossil fuels
To achieve these goals, future plant-based production systems require improved varieties of plants with better adaptation to environmental conditions and cultivation and higher yields while reducing the resource requirements. Harvest losses must be minimized and the full use of all plant parts must be further improved.
By its members, the ScienceCampus Halle - plant-based bioeconomy combines leading expertise in the fields of plants, agriculture, economics and social sciences in order to meet these social challenges.