Biogenic value creation and smart farming

Challenges such as advancing climate change and a steadily growing population require an acceleration in the cultivation of new crops for long-term food security. These crops therefore need to be able to withstand changing environmental influences while also delivering higher yields.

© Fraunhofer IIS
Phenotypic traits in relation to environmental factors

The “Biogenic value creation and smart farming” initiative created by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft focuses on applied research in the agriculture and food industry. Innovative technologies for sustainable agriculture across the entire value chain are being researched and developed. The Fraunhofer Development Center for X-ray Technology EZRT is offering its expertise in the field of plant monitoring — from data acquisition to decision support.

A technology center for phenotyping which deals with the objective evaluation of characteristics of selected crops, from seed cultivation to use, is being set up for precisely this purpose at the Triesdorf site. The focus is on plants which are particularly relevant for regional agriculture and food supply. The center will pioneer methods for the rapid breeding of new plant varieties and for optimization of cultivation conditions.
The idea is not only to develop and use sustainable and resource-efficient technologies in a controlled climate environment, but also to transfer them directly into practice.

Working together for sustainable agriculture solutions

As part of the joint project “Biogenic value creation and smart farming”, a decentralized Fraunhofer Center is being set up, with locations in Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A total of five Fraunhofer institutes are pooling their expertise here in the fields of robotics and automation, sensors, analytics and actuator technology, AI and big data, as well as design, production and process engineering. The collaboration will concentrate on technologies and solutions from the agriculture and food industry, with the aim of generating added value in the respective regions.  

Start research projects

Modular scalable camera system

Optical phenotyping requires multiple color cameras, e.g. to achieve high throughput or simultaneous acquisition from multiple angles.

Based on the XEye X-ray camera, a modular camera system is being developed that bundles the data from locally distributed color cameras and preprocesses them centrally.

Applications of this technology include crop and weed control vehicles as well as laboratory systems for phenotyping.

Multimodal data collection on maize

To shorten the current long breeding cycles, breeders need a quantitative, objective assessment of phenotypic traits. These are collected by a combination of optical and X-ray sensors and are sometimes very specific to different crop species. For a comprehensive view of plant traits and prevailing climatic conditions, it is necessary to link multiple modalities with environmental sensors. For this, agile evaluation of the respective sensor results and the derived traits is key.

Sensor and research networks

The creation of a physical technology center, open to all interested bioeconomic actors for collaboration in the field of phenotyping, is intended, among other things, to develop holistic answers to current problems. Among the challenges posed by global change, the focus here is on food security. In this context, automatic phenotyping as a method for objectifying the visible response of a species to environmental conditions plays a key role in the selection of suitable plants.

Seed analysis by means of CT

Rapid examination of seed quality is important for breeding and processing. In order to obtain an objective and non-destructive evaluation, measurements are carried out using a computed tomography system.

For this purpose, the CTportable160.90 is being further developed, e.g. to perform faster measurements or of larger objects. A new application is the evaluation of seedlings. To expand the market segment, sales via system integrators will be made possible.

Flexible sensor-actuator platform

Intelligent field robotics form a cornerstone of smart farming


This subproject will develop a universal, open and standardized platform that makes products from different manufacturers interoperable and enables the construction of robotic systems that can be flexibly adapted by users to their needs.


This will enable small manufacturers of specialized agricultural products in particular to enter the smart farming market.