In the COMPO EXPERT Research & Development Center, quality optimizations and innovative product development are carried out in co-operation with leading companies, independent research institutes and universities.
COMPO EXPERT'’s own R&D Center in Münster-Wolbeck coordinates since 2009 research and development activities worldwide in more than 25 countries in Europe, South America and Asia.
Current research focuses include the development of biostimulants for plant vitalization as well as the use of new technologies for leaf and soil fertilizers.
Thanks to decades of research and experience, COMPO EXPERT is the competent partner for fertilization.
The commercialization of new fertilizers and biostimulants implies that the products could be produced successfully at industrial scale with reasonable resources. However, before new products can be industrially produced, the production process needs to be developed, tested and optimized in a small scale. At COMPO EXPERT such development and optimization steps are usually conducted at the R&D Technical Center. If all required tests are successful, the recipes and processes can be upscaled to the industrial production scale.
In the COMPO EXPERT Technical Center following activities are conducted:
- Development of new products using similar equipment and technologies as in the industrial production unit
- Revision and improvement of existing recipes (e.g., substitution of raw materials) to achieve and ensure desired and required product properties
- Production of experimental samples according to the COMPO EXPERT product portfolio (granular fertilizers, coated fertilizers, fertilizers with special additives, suspensions, liquid fertilizer, soil improvers and biostimulants) for agronomic experiments and product registration in the different countries
- Conduction of standardized tests to evaluate product quality and storage behavior (granular and liquid fertilizers)
- Planning and development of experiments supporting requests on intellectual property
- Broad documentation on the conducted experiments, including extensive evaluation and reporting
- Support in the optimization of processes and establishment of new procedures for evaluation of quality parameters
A key role of the COMPO EXPERT R&D unit is dedicated to horticultural and agronomic experiments. Here, the focus is on the effectiveness of new substances and technologies, the development and testing of prototypes and new products, and comparative evaluation of plant performance under different conditions. In particular, product prototypes are comparatively evaluated under consideration of scientific standards. In addition to the high diversity of target crops, other factors such as soil properties, cultivation system, climate and stress situations might be integrated in the experimental designs.
Objectives and Key Activities
The R&D unit of COMPO EXPERT is involved in the elucidation of several biological, horticultural and agronomic questions on the use of fertilizers and biostimulants. Such questions are commonly raised by the markets, marketing units, Crop Managers, Product Management and the R&D group. Typical activities comprise:
- Comparative evaluation of new product prototypes aiming optimization of the existing product portfolio – (NPK) mineral fertilizers, DMPP-stabilized fertilizers, controlled-release fertilizers (CRF), slow release fertilizers (SRF), water soluble salts for fertigation, liquid fertilizers, fertilizers for foliar application and biostimulants
- Improvement of efficiency of fertilizers using new technologies to ensure plant availability of nutrients for longer time
- Selection and further development of biostimulants to raise crop resilience allowing optimal plant performance under sub-optimum (stress) conditions
- Evaluation of products and prototypes, also for practical use under sub-optimum production conditions such as abiotic stresses (water deficiency, salinity, pH levels)
- Optimization of environmentally friendly fertilization strategies to reduce losses through volatilization and lixiviation
- Evaluation of different application techniques: soil, fertigation, foliar & drenching
COMPO EXPERT fertilizers and biostimulants are used in many different crops. For experimentation purposes, the ideal crops are selected based on the driving question, the environmental conditions, and the economic relevance. Some examples of crops:
- Lily- (Lilium sp.)
- Sweet pepper/Bell Pepper (Capsicum)
- Egg plant (Brinjal)
- Cauliflower & cabbage
- Water melon and Musk melon
Broad acre crops
- Sports fields
- Golf green
Spices & Plantations
- Black Pepper
At COMPO EXPERT, the spectrum of possibilities for conduction of experiments range from high throughput experiments in the laboratory to potted crops under protection environment, field experiments for broad acre crops and long-term experiments in fruit orchards. Our experience and possibilities are exemplified in following working scales:
- Laboratory experiments using Petri dishes or hydroponic systems
- Greenhouse experiments under protected cultivation
- Experiments in plastic tunnels
- Trials with potted crops in cold houses and open areas
- Open field trials with broad acre crops
- Experiments in young and in established orchards
- Sports fields and golf areas
- Determination of growth, yield and quality parameters
- Screening experiments for evaluation of early effects during the phase of crop establishment
- Evaluation of root development using rhizotrons
- Use of non-destructive technologies for phenotyping of plants with different parameters, including:
Growth, plant height and leaf area using infrared scanning technology
Plant density and living ground area using a tailor-made photobox
Biochemical indicators such as chlorophyll, anthocyanin and flavonol contents using fluorescence and transmission technology
The central R&D unit works closely together with the international COMPO EXPERT affiliates. With this, the knowledge building and transfer in the areas of fertilizers and biostimulants is ensured at high level. Some examples on the most important activities in terms of knowledge building and knowledge transfer:
Is organized on annual basis and establishes a platform for the information exchange on research strategies, innovations, research results, and experiences inside the global COMPO EXPERT R&D team
Elucidation of the R&D structure and the major research activities in the COMPO EXPERT markets
An internal network for the digital exchange of information and experimental results
Participation in scientific conferences, workshops, and technical meetings
Training of Product Managers
New colleagues receive intensive training on the particularities and uses of existing products, and get insight in the most important R&D projects
Support service for visitors from different countries, guided tours for visitors, students, cooperation partners and customers
Offer for Students
Students might get involved in the R&D unit in the scope of training and/or internship. On top, B.Sc. and M.Sc. candidates might get the chance to conduct their scientific research under supervision of qualified scientific orientation
Networking and Cooperation
With a continuous and long-term work, the central R&D unit builds up a global network that allows conduction or basic and applied research. The centrally coordinated activities are supported and amended by the national COMPO EXPERT subsidiaries. Those local R&D activities are of essential importance since the success of new products in the markets strongly depends on the experimental results obtained in the respective countries.
Through the cooperation with strong and reliable partners it is possible to define different research demands to improve and test products, and to contribute with the general development of the company. Finally, clear and sustainable advances are only possible with the support of an internationally qualified team.