Scientific Publications

An optimization model minimizing costs of fertilizer application in Flemish horticulture

The majority of today’s fertilizers are based on mineral resources and fossil fuels. Among other factors, geopolitical sensitivities and rising fertilizer demand contribute to high and volatile prices. To reduce our dependency on nonrenewable resources, valuable bio-based fertilizer components can be recovered through valorization of organic waste streams.

Authors: Erika De Keyser, Anke De Dobbelaere, Jan Leenknegt, Erik Meers, Erik Mathijs and
Liesbet Vranken.

However, from a farmer’s perspective, an optimization problem arises: the farmer wants to minimize costs
while safeguarding crop nutrient uptake. Optimization research in the fertilizer domain focuses on scheduling fertilizer application or minimizing manure management costs. The model developed in this paper intends to minimize fertilizer costs for an individual vegetable farmer by considering the possibility of
bio-based fertilizer prosumption through composting and anaerobic digestion as well as leaving crop residues on the field. In a Linear Programming model, these options are compared to purchasing mineral fertilizer, commercial compost or pig slurry. In addition, a distinction is made between different business models. Sensitivity analysis is carried out with respect to changing cost parameters. The results confirm that it is not optimal for a Flemish vegetable farmer to fulfil nutrient needs solely with bio-based fertilizer. Nevertheless, the study shows that it can be interesting to consider value chains involving regional cooperation.

Impacts of the Ukraine–Russia Conflict
on the Global Food Supply Chain and Building Future Resilience

The reverberations of the Ukraine–Russia conflict have been keenly felt in 2022 as the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine quickly cascaded across the globe, significantly exacerbating existing pressures on global systems

Authors: Ellen Dyson, Rachel Helbig, Tessa Avermaete, Kate Halliwell, Philip C. Calder, Lynn R. Brown, John Ingram, Bert Popping, Hans Verhagen, Alan R. Boobis, Isabelle Guelinckx, Louise Dye and Neil Boyle.

The vulnerabilities of the global food system have been particularly laid bare with significant disruptions to food and fertiliser supply chains instigating profound shocks on global food supply – disproportionately affecting poorer and vulnerable populations of the Global South. The immediate concerns and potential solutions to the global impacts of the Ukraine–Russia conflict were recently discussed by a panel of industry, academic and civil society experts convened by the European branch of the International Life Sciences Institute, all of whom are authors of this manuscript. The key concerns: the reduced affordability of food – focussing on those most vulnerable to its effects; the socio-political implications of reduced food security; food safety; and nutrition security are all discussed in this Point de Vue. The authors voice the need for improved resilience to future shocks and stress on the food system.

A typology of sustainable circular business models with applications in the bioeconomy

As an approach to sustainable development, circular business models are increasingly being developed

Authors: Erika De Keyser and Erik Mathijs.
Division of Bioeconomics, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

However, many circular business models focus on environmental or technological contributions to sustainability rather than considering all dimensions of sustainability simultaneously. Based on existing sustainable business model archetypes, a hierarchical business model typology is developed that allows a stepwise exploration of sustainable business model innovation opportunities incorporating an environmental, social and economic dimension. An analysis of business model components generates a closer look on the six newly defined Sustainable Circular Business Models. Finally, a conceptual application for organic waste valorization technologies, supported by examples from literature, allows a practical view on the implementation of the business models in the bio-economy. The typology offers a guide toward sustainable business model design or innovation opportunities centered around technologies creating value from waste.

October 2022

Present Knowledge in Food Safety

A Risk-Based Approach Through the Food Chain

Chapter 71 on “Food and nutrition security: challenges for farming, procurement, and consumption” is written by Tessa Avermaete, Wannes Keulemans, Olivier Honnay, Gerard Govers, Barbara De Coninck and Tjitske Anna Zwart. They are members of KU Leuven Team (Project Coordinator).

Present Knowledge in Food Safety: A Risk-Based Approach Through the Food Chain presents approaches for exposure-led risk assessment and the management of changes in the chemical, pathogenic microbiological and physical (radioactivity) contamination of ’food’ at all key stages of production, from farm to consumption. This single volume resource introduces scientific advances at all stages of the production to improve reliability, predictability and relevance of food safety assessments for the protection of public health. This book is aimed at a diverse audience, including graduate and post-graduate students in food science, toxicology, microbiology, medicine, public health, and related fields. The book’s reach also includes government agencies, industrial scientists, and policymakers involved in food risk analysis.



Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Rustica Project.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Skip to content