Plant nutrition for the bio-based society

Plant nutrients are a fundamental requirement for successful intensification of the future global production of nutritious food, feed and raw materials for the bio-based society. To meet the increasing demands for plant biomass in a sustainable way, the nutrient use efficiency must be improved and nutrient losses reduced. This will require careful management of all nutrient sources available. In addition, novel nutrient-efficient plant genotypes designed to match local soil and climatic conditions must be developed.

Research activities in 2016/17 

Nitrogen metabolism, cell walls and  variation among wheat genotypes in biomass yield and composition
Nitrogen is the main driver of biomass yield and composition. Better knowledge about timing and level of N supply is essential for development of new nitrogen fertilization strategies which can optimize biomass for biorefining while at the same time improve the nitrogen utilisation efficiency. We focus on the physiological and biochemical interactions between nitrogen metabolism, biomass accumulation and cell wall properties in wheat and barley straw. Silicon is targeted in order to investigate how incorporation of this element in cell walls affects the recalcitrance of the biomass to enzymatic saccharification during biorefining. Panels of different genotypes are included in order to discover new genes, QTLs and molecular markers. Researchers: Pernille Louise Malik, Jan van Hecke, Sylwia Glazowska, Laetitia Baldwin, Henning Jørgensen, Rasmus Dahl-Lassen, Jan K. Schjoerring. Contact

Protein from green biomass
We investigate the potential for developing nitrogen fertilization strategies tailored to maximize protein extractability and quality from green biomass.  High through-put protein analysis is carried out in order to deeper understand the biosynthesis and remobilization of proteins during plant growth and senescence. The extractability and quality of the protein vary depending on the biomass raw material and the extraction conditions. Major differences can be observed among crop species, genotypes, crop maturity stage, nitrogen fertilization strategies, harvest and conservation methods. Researchers: Henning Jørgensen, Rasmus Dahl-Lassen, Jan van Hecke, Jan K. Schjoerring. Contact

Current projects: 

  • BIOVALUE: A large strategic platform for innovation and research on value added products from biomass. The platform embraces 4 Danish Universities and 10+ Danish Companies, including DLG (Sejet Plant Breeding), ARLA, DLF-Trifolium, Novozymes, Haldor Topsoe and Rockwool.
  • Biomass for the 21st Century: The platform B21st is a Danish initiative for the integrated development of biomass and conversion technologies for biobased fuels and chemicals. The partners involved are A.P. Moller Maersk, DONG Energy, Haldor Topsoe, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Novozymes, Technical University of Denmark and University of Copenhagen.


  • Baldwin, L., Glazowska, S. Mravec, J., Fangel, J. Zang, H., Felby, C., Willats, W.G. and Schjoerring, J.K. 2016. External nitrogen input affects pre- and post-harvest cell wall composition but not the enzymatic saccharification of wheat straw. – Biomass & Bioenergy (submitted)
  • Murozuka, E., de Bang, T.C., Frydenvang, J., Lindedam, J., Laursen, K.H., Bruun, S., Magid, J. and  Schjoerring, J.K. 2015. Concentration of mineral elements in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) straw: Genotypic differences and consequences for enzymatic saccharification. – Biomass and Bioenergy 75, 131-141.
  • Parajuli, R.,  Dalgaard, .,  Jorgensen, U., Adamsen, A.P.S.,  Knudsen, M.T., Birkved, M., Gylling, M. and Schjorring, J.K. 2015. Biorefining in the prevailing energy and materials crisis: a review of sustainable pathways for biorefinery value chains and sustainability assessment methodologies. – Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews  43: 244-263.
  • Dalgaard, T., Hansen, B., Hasler, B., Hertel, O., Hutchings, N.J., Jacobsen, B.H., Jensen, L.S., Kronvang, B., Olesen, J.E., Schjoerring, J.K., Kristensen, I.S., Graversgaard, M., Termansen, M. and Vejre H. 2014. Policies for agricultural nitrogen management - trends, challenges and prospects for improved efficiency in Denmark. Environmental Research Letters 9, 115002 (16 pp.)
  • Le, M.D., Sørensen, H.R., Knudsen, N.O., Schjoerring, J.K. and Meyer, A.S. 2014. Biorefining of wheat straw: accounting for the distribution of mineral elements in pretreated biomass by an extended pretreatment–severity equation. –  Biotechnology for Biofuels 7:141 (13 pp.).
  • Thomsen, H.C., Eriksson, D., Møller, I.S. and Schjoerring, J.K. 2014. Cytosolic glutamine synthetase: A target for improvement of crop nitrogen use efficiency? – Trends in Plant Science 19: 656-663.
  • Murozuka, E., Laursen, K.H., Lindedam, J., Shield, I. Bruun, S., Magid, J., Møller, I.S and Schjoerring, J.K. 2014. Nitrogen fertilization affects silicon concentration, cell wall composition and biofuel potential of wheat straw. – Biomass and Bioenergy 64, 291-298.
  • Hansen, M.A.T., Jørgensen, H.,  Laursen, K.H., Schjoerring, J.K. and  Felby, C. 2013. Structural and chemical analysis of process residue from biochemical conversion of wheat straw (Triticum aestivum L.) to ethanol. – Biomass & Bioenergy 56, 572-581.
  • Wang, L, Feng, Z. and Schjoerring, J.K.  2013. Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on physiology and yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.): A meta-analytic test of current hypotheses. – Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 178, 57-63.