Seven Belgian partners
The SpaceBakery consortium is an unique compilation of innovation-driven industrial and research partners, each bringing their specific expertise to the table. Seven Belgian organisations took up the challenge of developing the ‘Space Bakery’ and the next generation of bread products, high in nutrititive value and low in resource demand, that could support such future space missions.
Within this research project, the Consortium will address concerns relevant in domains such as circular food production, bread products focusing on health and well-being, urban farming, robotic pollination, efficient water and nutrient use for agriculture, etc. and, as such, enable us to gain insights that could ultimately bring benefits to Earth. Researchers from the seven members of the consortium will learn how to create the ideal environment for the efficient production of wheat, and other plants that would lead to bread that is nutritionally balanced, healthy and tasty.
But, why focus on bread? Because it is highly nutritional and consumed all over the world, making it an ideal candidate as a staple food for space exploration. The SpaceBakery project has a total funding of over 6.3 million euros, including a subsidy of 4.5 million euros from the Flemish government.
Puratos is an international group, which offers a full range of innovative ingredients and services for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate industry. The company serves artisans, industrials, retailers and food service companies in over 100 countries around the world. The headquarter is located in Belgium, where Puratos was founded in 1919. Above all, Puratos aims to be ‘reliable partners in innovation’ across the globe to help its customers deliver nutritious, tasty food to their local communities, today and tomorrow.
Urban Crop Solutions
Urban Crop Solutions offers end-to-end solutions for Indoor Vertical Farming. It all starts with the crop: your crop and the needs of your market. Based on 5 years of research and real-life trials in our own research center, we help you select the right plant varieties with the right growth recipe for the requirements of your crop.
The company designs, manufactures, and installs automated Plant Factories that can scale to the needs of their client’s business and helps them in their journey to yield and support their first harvest.
To date, Urban Crop Solutions has manufactured over 25 Container Farms and Plant Factories for clients across Europe and North America. Urban Crop Solutions’ commercial farms are used for vegetables, herbs, micro-greens for food retail, food service and industrial use. Research institutions use Urban Crop Solutions’ infrastructure for scientific research on banana seedlings, flowers and hemp.
Magics Instruments is a fast growing SME company that was founded in 2015 and currently employs 27 people. The spark for MAGICS was a shared conviction that autonomous machines are key to explore other planets and to unlock secure, sustainable sources of energy, food and materials on these worlds and on our own. Our Belgium headquarters is home to a world-leading research and development team, bringing together the core disciplines of radiation hardening, integrated circuit design and machine learning that underpin the next generation of autonomous machines.
The Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University is a European research leader in the field of applied biological and life sciences or bioengineering, and is, across many areas, internationally recognised for its applied plant eco-physiological research conducted at the Laboratory of Plant Ecology within the Department of Plants and Crops.
The Laboratory of Plant Ecology has unique expertise in the use and development of sophisticated plant sensors and advanced plant models to study the dynamic responses of crops and trees to their environment. Plant water relations and carbon metabolism are jointly investigated to better understand the dynamic plant-environment interplay, and to develop generic “virtual plants” that can be used in a series of novel applications.
In the SpaceBakery project, a virtual 3D wheat crop that mimics actual crop development and growth is being used to define optimal growth conditions in the innovative biosphere production system. This will support sustainable production through optimal use of resources, which has huge potential for applications here on Earth as well as in space. In this line, the Laboratory of Plant Ecology is also a member of CropFit, a research network of Ghent University professors with expertise in biostimulants and biopesticides.
SCK CEN (Belgian Nuclear Research Centre) is one of the largest research institutions in Belgium, with more than 800 employees developing peaceful applications of radioactivity. The developments have already led to a long list of innovative applications for the medical world, industry and the energy sector. SCK CEN is also known for its space research, in particular for investigating the impact of cosmic radiation and space flight conditions on human health and biological life support systems in space.
In the SpaceBakery project, the BioSciences research group of SCK CEN studies the effect of microorganisms on the release of nutrients to plants and monitor the overall microbial climate in the closed environment. In addition, they investigate the impact of increased ionising radiation, as is present in space and on Mars, on wheat growth.
The Centre for Environmental Sciences (Hasselt University) is a multidisciplinary research institute with more than 100 biologists, chemists, economists and jurists. CMK strives to be an international academic leader in holistic, multi-and-transdisciplinary analyses pertaining to the environment, a source of robust science-driven advice to public and private decision-makers from the local to the international level, and an active promoter of academic and educational expertise in developed and developing countries.
CMK is an agent of societal change at the local and global level, by means of academic discovery, dissemination and implementation: CMK research addresses challenges of high societal urgency that require analyses that span across the boundaries of different scientific domains and disciplines and require fundamental as well as applied research. The strategic research topics are: (i) understanding influences of the environment on organisms, (ii) developing and assessing sustainable clean technologies to mitigate influences of the environment on organisms and (iii) monitoring, valuing and optimising biodiversity and ecosystem services under different stress conditions, including climate change.
Flanders’ FOOD is the spearhead cluster for the agri-food industry and focusses on collaboration across the value chain, as well as cross-border and cross-sectoral collaboration. It is a unique, strategy-driven platform that contributes to a more competitive, innovative and sustainable agri-food industry through innovation. Flanders’ FOOD strengthens the innovative power of the target group by increasing the scientific and technological knowledge and thus contributes to the economic and societal development of Flanders.
In the SpaceBakery project, Flanders' FOOD will organise the SpaceBakery conference in the summer of 2022.