Food Pro·tec·ts master thesis takes 3rd place

Food Pro·tec·ts master thesis takes 3rd place
Elena Zopes from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn

The DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft) has awarded the Wilhelm Rimpau Prize 2020 to three innovative and practice-oriented master’s theses in plant production. On behalf of the DLG board, an independent jury selected three particularly outstanding works from the total of 25 very good submissions. Third place went to Elena Zopes from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, who conducted research on the subject of renewable raw materials within the framework of the INTERREG project Food Pro·tec·ts. The prize is named after Wilhelm Rimpau, the “father of German plant breeding” and founder of the seed breeding department of the DLG.

Elena Zopes from Bonn received the third prize, which is endowed with 1,000 euros, for her master’s thesis on “N-dynamics of the combination of solid and liquid fertilizers in sugar beets as the third link in crop rotation”. The thesis was carried out in the Research Unit Renewable Resources of the Agricultural Faculty of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, in cooperation with the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, and was supervised by Prof. Dr. Ralf Pude, Prof. Dr. Martin Hamer and Michael Stotter. The research work was funded as part of the German-Dutch cooperation project Food Pro·tec·ts.

In her master’s thesis, Elena Zopes investigated the N mineralization of various Miscanthus fertilizers and compared it with the N dynamics of other important farm fertilizers. The aim of her work was to find out whether Miscanthus can bind nitrogen in the soil over a long period of time and at the same time release it in line with plant requirements, thereby reducing potential N losses and at the same time achieving high yields.

This question was raised because Miscanthus is already characterized by a high absorbency as bedding material in animal stables. Since Miscanthus also has numerous positive effects on the soil and the environment as a greening plant, it can also be assumed that the cultivation of this crop will expand in the coming years. Elena Zopes’ master’s thesis was able to show that the incorporation of chopped Miscanthus can bind nitrogen in the soil over a long period of time and also release it as required by the plant.

The results of both soil and plant analyses as well as the N balances could show that N mineralisation is slower in the fertilisers containing Miscanthus than in the other fertilisers investigated. In addition, due to the high sugar beet and sugar yields, negative environmental effects could be assumed.

The results of this work are therefore very relevant, especially in the discussion of the nitrate problem, and at the same time show a high degree of practical suitability.

Food Pro·tec·ts is implemented under the INTERREG V A programme Deutschland-Nederland and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, MWIDE NRW and the provinces of Gelderland, Limburg and Noord-Brabant. It is accompanied by the programme management of the Euregio Rhein-Waal.