• Zero hunger
  • Climate action
  • Life on land

Soil research and microbes

A healthy soil is essential for the growth of the plants in any ecosystem including manmade forests and farming food. The key challenges in our future like biodiversity, climatic changes, sustainable food production and forestry, invasions of pests and pathogens and the renewable resources for bioeconomics are intimately bound with the advancement in understanding soil and its microbial ecology.

There is a need to take a much deeper look into soil: the invisible world of soil microbes is the best indicator of functional soil and full of opportunities waiting to be tapped into. Luke studies these opportunities in agricultural, forest, tundra, and peatland soils.

The soil is a home to massive microbe ecosystems, whose diverse benefits to other life forms are increasingly on our research agenda. It is already known that microbes affect plant growth and health. In one of our research approaches, we study, for example, how symbiotic fungi of forest trees help the nurseries produce healthy and well growing saplings, improving the cost-efficiency of nurseries, and how controlling microbiomes circulations could improve food production.

Microbes could also be an important part of the solution to mitigating climate change. They are involved in all the three major greenhouse gas production and consumption processes: carbon dioxide, di-nitrous oxide and methane. All these gaseous fluxes are the outcome of the important ecosystem service provided by soil microbes, namely the decomposition of dead organic matter of plant and animal origin. In connection Luke also studies how microbes can help to store more carbon in soil, and, thus help solving the challenge of global warming.

In addition to microbes, Luke is also involved in many other types of soil research. One example are micronutrients, that are essential to plant growth but also improve the quality of food. Regardless of the climate in respective area, soil often lacks these important micronutrients. Analysing the micronutrient levels and creating fertilizing plans accordingly is of essence. Our expertise and work in international research projects have helped build local capacity particularly in developing countries and, thus, improve the food security in those areas.

  • Zero hunger
  • Life below water

Sustainable use of aquatic resources and aquaculture

Fish and seafood are increasingly important form of nutrition in every parts of the world. Ensuring sustainable use of fish and other aquatic resources is of essence.

Luke provides a wide range of research resources to enable the sustainable use of waters and fish stocks. Continuous development of methodology through international cooperation is an integral part of the work.

The restoration of regulated watercourses is an important area of our research, aiming to find solutions for enhancement of natural reproduction of migratory fish, revival of endangered fish populations and conservation of fish biodiversity. The management of fisheries both in the Baltic Sea and in the inland waters support both sustainable and profitable fishing industry as well as extensive recreational fisheries. Spatial planning is an important recent process aiming to maintain prosperous fish stocks. The potential of blue wellbeing services is also investigated.

For decades, Luke has developed methodology for sustainable aquaculture. Our key expertise is in cold water fish farming, in flow-through and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Aquaculture is a rapidly growing way of producing protein-rich food, already accounting for a bigger share of the fish on our plates than fisheries. Furthermore, fish is farmed for stocking into natural waters, securing the conservation of biodiversity and management

Jokioisten navetta Ilma Tapio ja vasikat
  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Climate action

Sustainable food production and food security

In 2030, the world will need 50% more food than in 2010 – and that food needs to be produced sustainably. For years, Luke has been active in research related to developing the entire food system from field to fork. From soil health to plant protection and crop and animal genetics, our expertise covers the entire primary production as well as R&D and diagnostics of new food products. We are aiming at sustainable, circular and resource efficient solutions to enhance the competitiveness of food producers.

Alongside many economic aspects, sustainable food systems relate to well-being and health of people, animals and the environment. Luke produces information on the importance of responsibility and the related indicators for various actors in the food system. In addition, we provide information on how sustainability can be improved at different levels in the food system.

Improving food security

Climate change and related issues such as loss of biodiversity, and sudden crisis, such as pandemics set great challenges for the food system. We need tools to increase resilience of the food system, to mitigate climate change and to adapt to changes.

Luke promotes diversification of Finnish food system by developing solutions for enhancing production and use of domestic alternative proteins from field to plate. We also study the potential of innovative microbiome solutions in all stages of the food chain for increasing food security and healthy nutrition in the changing climate. Climate change mitigation means include, for example, decreasing the methane emissions of ruminants by breeding and nutritional solutions. Our genomic research is essential for breeding for resource efficient, robust livestock and new crops that can better adapt to changing climate e.g. by being resistant to certain plant diseases and, thus, improve food security.

The environmental impacts and carbon footprint of different production technologies, food products and diets are studied to understand scientific basis of environmentally sustainable food production and consumption patterns and possibilities are strongly on our research agenda.

Food waste is waste of money

Minimising food waste is another important topic in improving the sustainability and resource-efficiency of the food system. Unnecessarily produced food is a burden on both the economy and the environment. To improve the situation, Luke develops new ways to monitor and reduce food waste in the entire value chain. Simultaneously, we help producers make use of side streams and by-products to promote circular economy and new business.