The inventions of UMCS scientists have been put into practice

On 28th May 2021, at the Ecotech-Complex Centre, a press conference was held about the agreement covering the granting of a license for 4 patents, concluded between the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, the Intermag company from Olkusz and the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation - National Research Institute in Puławy. The developed inventions are protected by a patent and concern a method of obtaining and purifying substances produced by bacteria, called Nod factors, which are the active ingredient of a preparation stimulating the growth of crops.

The conference was attended by: UMCS Rector - prof. Dr hab. Radosław Dobrowolski, President of the Management Board of INTERMAG sp.z o.o. from Olkusz - Hubert Kardasz, Director of the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation (IUNG) - National Research Institute in Puławy - prof. Wiesław Oleszek, UMCS Vice-Rector for development and cooperation with the economy - prof. Zbigniew Pastuszak, Director of the Center for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University - Anna Grzegorczyk, Krzysztof Ambroziak - Director of the Intermag Research and Development Department, prof. Anna Jarosz-Wilkołazka - Director of the Institute of Biological Sciences and prof. Jerzy Wielbo - researcher at the Institute of Biological Sciences.

At the beginning of the conference, UMCS rector prof. Radoslaw Dobrowolski said:

- I would like to thank President Hubert Kardasz because Intermag undertook the commercialization of these four inventions. We strive to dynamize our cooperation with the socio-economic environment. In the history of UMCS, it is the first such large commercialization.

President of the Management Board of INTERMAG sp. z o.o. Hubert Kardasz from Olkusz commented on the concluded contract:

First of all, I would like to thank our partners - UMCS and the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in Puławy, for their trust in INTERMAG. Talks regarding the commercialization of this product have been going on for two years. We have excellent contacts with the employees of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, and we see great potential in the commercialization of this product. We tested it ourselves and confirmed its high efficiency. It is a very innovative approach to agriculture, in line with new trends such as the Green Deal or organic farming.

Then prof. Wiesław Oleszek - Director of the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation (IUNG) - National Research Institute in Puławy, who spoke about why IUNG undertakes this type of research:

Our unit's interest in the cultivation of legumes is huge because they have a strategic value. Animal production for protein production depends on a supply of soybeans. The global market is dynamic in this matter - so Polish institutions are doing everything to become as independent as possible from soybean imports. It is a difficult process due to the thermal and water conditions that must be provided to legumes. The area of ​​their cultivation is negligible - on a global scale, it is only 0.4%. In this situation, we must take measures to increase the yield per hectare or use a different method - for example, use the methods of supporting the growth of these plants discussed today. It is best to breed types that are resistant to different, chang Prof. Zbigniew Pastuszak - UMCS Vice-Rector for Development and Cooperation with the Economy and Anna Grzegorczyk - Director of the UMCS Knowledge and Technology Transfer Centre, told about the commercialization process:

 - The task of commercialization is to translate scientists' research into practice. Scientists have ideas, and the university has a well-developed administrative structure to help ensure that these ideas find buyers, and the process of finding buyers and translating scientists' ideas into a contract and further cooperation was smooth. A specially established Centre organizes the commercialization process for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at our university - said Prof. Zbigniew Pastuszak.

- The Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer is a unit to help connect two worlds: science and business, and the effect are to be products implemented on the market. I am happy that we managed to find an entrepreneur interested in the commercialization of bio-fertilizer. This is the first big success this year, but we are also planning further implementations in science and the humanities and social sciences - added Anna Grzegorczyk.

The commercialization of preparations based on "Nod factors" was undertaken by the Polish company Intermag specializing in the development and production of modern preparations for agriculture and horticulture and pro-health products for animals.

- The Intermag company has a Research and Development Department, which consists of over 20 people. We carry out several research projects ourselves, co-financed by the National Centre for Research and Development and those co-financed directly by the European Commission. We look for interesting solutions on our own, while solutions developed by scientists are also interesting for us. We are actually starting our cooperation, and we count on the further development of this product in the field of other crops. We see the great potential, and we are curious how this cooperation will continue to develop - explained Krzysztof Ambroziak - Director of the Research and Development Department at INTERMAG.

At the end of the meeting, scientists from the Institute of Biological Sciences took the floor.

- Scientists who have participated in the research for many years are an essential element of this success. We are glad that the works related to this subject, which are carried out at the Institute of Biological Sciences, UMCS, have found practical application. I thank the scientists for developing their passion and the courage to show their results. I would also like to thank entrepreneurs for their involvement in our research - said, prof. Anna Jarosz-Wilkołazka. ing climatic conditions.

What is the difficulty and novelty of the invention, which is a bio-fertilizer? Prof explained this. Jerzy Wielbo:

- The novelty consisted in changing the way of thinking about what bio-fertilizers should be used for legumes because traditionally and for decades, bio-fertilizers based on live bacterial cells have been used, which work well in many cases. However, it is quite difficult to use them because microorganisms must reach the soil to the plants in a live form. Secondly, it is important to be aware of the fact that many legumes are regularly grown on the soils or that they appear in the vegetation as weeds, and this entails the presence of microorganisms that can have the problem with such plants that usually bacteria, which are present in soil and symbiotic with legumes, do not bind atmospheric nitrogen very much. We have tried to isolate very effective strains for many years, but their application in practical conditions did not bring outstanding results. Here was the idea that maybe we should change the system a little and make the plants produce more organs that bacteria can inhabit. If there are more places that bacteria can colonize, the plant will benefit from it. Moreover, that is what our various inventions really are about. These are the active substances contained in the bio preparations that Intermag intends to produce and market. These are certain substances made by bacterial cells that are grown under laboratory conditions. Then these substances are extracted from such cultures and administered to the plants in the form of preparation. Moreover, these substances, the so-called Nod factors, cause more special organs to form on the roots of plants, which are called root nodules. Symbiotic rhizobia infect these organs, and if more of them arise on the roots, the plants will become colonized with more bacterial cells, resulting in more reduced atmospheric nitrogen being supplied to the plants.

Commercialization of the patents of scientists from UMCS, which was the subject of the conference, has been the largest so far at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University. Moreover, the teaching staff has nearly 90 inventions and patents at various stages of implementation, which constitutes a large number of commercialization opportunities.

Photo B. Proll


    Monika Kusiej
    Date of addition
    31 May 2021

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