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 jose boaventura

José Boaventura Cunha

Projects  Partner and Institution:

José Boaventura Cunha: INESC TEC;
Susana Carvalho: FCUP;
Jos Balendonck: WUR;
Aslihan Kerç: SUEN;
Suna Timur: EGE University;
Emine Guler: EGE Life Sciences;
Francisco Millán: RITEC;
Klara Löfkvist: RISE

Key words
Fertigation Control, Irrigation Water Quality, Pesticides Biosensor, Nutrient Optical Sensor.


In order to save the environment while maintaining profits for farmers, management of crop production requires reliable decision-support systems (DSS) based on water quality feedback making use of cost-effective, robust, low-maintenance and accurate sensors for nutrients and pesticides. AGRINUPES intends to develop nutrient (NPK) sensors and integrate them into fertilization and irrigation (fertigation) equipment, as well as low-cost biosensors for pesticide detection, with demonstration of their use for practical management purpose at several European demo-sites. The AGRINUPES project ( is funded by ERA-NET / Co-fund WaterWorks2015.

Achieved results:

  • R&D of an integrated and sustainable monitoring system with innovative ion-selective sensors for main macronutrients (NPK) and bio-based sensing of pesticides (imidacloprid and pirimicarb), to be used for optimal water and nutrient supply and reuse, minimizing the effects on the environment. Regarding the NPK sensor, a modular optoelectronic system with interchangeable components that can be configured for different operational conditions was achieved. The first trial with field samples of N sensor by direct UV measurement was demonstrated. Also, several indicator layers were tested and characterized. An innovative solution using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to extract NPK information from direct spectral reading was successfully demonstrated. Concerning the biosensors, DNA aptamers that were used in design of imidacloprid and pirimicarb biosensors were successfully obtained. Three different aptamer-based biosensors were designed and compared in terms of recognition efficiencies and their sensing performances.
  • Validation and demonstration of the applicability of developed technologies at different sites covering several types of crop production systems (recycled or cascaded water system) from greenhouses to open-field agriculture in various climatic regions.
  • Policy report coupling the best practices of NPK and biosensors with selected EU regulations targets.

AGRINUPES builds on the extensive experience, competence and early work conducted on optical fibre-based sensors, biosensors, water policy models, plant cultivation and nutrition, smart irrigation scheduling and robust control. It was implemented and followed by a trans-disciplinary team of experts involving multi-actors. The demonstration sites were open for visiting for farmers, suppliers, scientists, water authorities and policy makers. Relevant stakeholders joined the regional User Network Groups set-up around the demo-sites to be informed during the research and development phase of the technologies. Their inputs were valuable for the project to tune the systems to the end-user needs. The new sensors will lead to worldwide new markets for European irrigation/fertigation technology sector, thus strengthening the competitiveness and growth of SMEs and related companies. The achieved solutions will potentiate a significant increase of water and fertilizer use efficiency in the agricultural/horticultural sector, longer and economic reuse cycle for the drainage water, and prevent/reduce pollution of surface and ground waters by fertilizers and pesticides. With the developed sensors, growers will have information about the input and output nutrient solution quality, and can evidence-based decide on how and when to irrigate and fertigate, and on whether the costly task of cleaning is advisable before disposal. Governmental organizations (water authorities) may use the sensors for checking water quality in ground and surface waters. Technology suppliers can acquire a license to sell the sensors and decision support systems worldwide.

Project structure
 WPs 3


The Work Package (WP) description takes into account the partners expertise and knowledge to select leaders for a specific WP and tasks therein. The overall project is splitted in seven WP, where each case study defines a different WP, since separate and focused attention is needed. The project will be coordinated (WP1) by INESC TEC-PT responsible for financial and administrative management, with a strict follow-up to monitor the involvement of stakeholders and task accomplishments. EGE University-TR will lead WP2 on sensor research and development and will take the role as task leader for the biosensor. INESC TEC-PT will lead the task on fiber optics based NPK sensor. Both sensors will be tested and validated under controlled and defined laboratory conditions (Task RISE-SE) as well as at semi-practical scale conditions, where also demonstration of both sensors for Northern European high-tech greenhouse production will take place (Task WUR-NL), under the lead of RISE-SE (WP3). Both sensors will also be demonstrated in the 3 case studies at practical scale in Southern Europe. In all tests and demos, SMEs, end-users and water boards will be involved. Besides, dissemination and communication activities towards local stakeholders will be undertaken. The SME RITEC-ES will lead the demo (WP4) in Spain with focus on the use of the NPK sensor for the new robust optimal fertigation controller to be developed by INESC TEC-PT (task leader) in soilless grown crops in greenhouses by using recycling techniques. The FCUP-PT will conduct a demo in Portugal using a cascade system in which free drained irrigation water from a greenhouse is being reused for an outdoor crop (WP5). SUEN-TR, together with the EGE-Spin-off (EGE-LS-TR) will conduct a demo in Turkey for outdoor crops (WP6). WUR-NL will coordinate all demonstration and communication activities undertaken in all case areas, including the exchange of experiences of good practices among partners and stakeholders (WP7). SUEN-TR will perform herein the task of linking dissemination to the national and European policy aspects.

D1.1. Project common procedures and quality plan (R, M3, INESC TEC, PP)
D1.2. Management tools, templates and updated risk contingency plans (R, M3, INESC TEC, PP)
D1.3. Project annual report - year 1 (R, M12, INESC TEC, PP) D2.1. Specification and design of NPK optical sensor system (R, M12, INESC TEC, PP)
D2.2. Operational performance of NPK sensors (lab calibration) (R, M12, INESC TEC, PP)
D2.3. Operational performance of NPK sensors prototype (field operation) (R, M18, INESC TEC, PP)
D2.4. Development of prototypes of sensory device (P, M18, EGE, PP)
D2.5. Working performance investigations of designed biosensors at laboratory scale by using commercially obtained standard solutions. (R, M15-M18, EGE, PP)
D2.6. Applicability testing and evaluation of biosensors via research field (D, M15-M18, EGE, PU) D3.1. Report on sensor requirements (R, M12, WUR, PU)
D3.2. Report on test set-up layout (2 sensors, 2 set-ups) (R, M12, RISE, PP)
D3.2. Test report for laboratory experiments (R. M36, RISE, PU)
D3.3. Evaluation Report for semi-practical scale (R, M36, WUR, PU)
D3.4. Report on Best Management Practices (R, M36, WUR, PU)
D4.1. Control software for fertigation (P, M24, INESCTEC, PP)
D4.2. Prototype of nutrition unit (first version) (P, M12, RITEC, PP)
D4.3. Prototype of nutrition unit (second version) (P, M18, RITEC, PP)
D4.4. Integration module with nutrition unit, according to new sensors specifications for on detection of ion selected fertilizers (P, M18, RITEC, PP).
D5.1. Report on general characterization of the ‘CRUs’ (R, M3, FCUP, PU)
D5.2. Report on suitability and impacts of ‘CRUs’ on irrigation water, soil and plant level (R, M24, FCUP, PU)
D5.3. Report on the performance of both sensors in a ‘CRUs’ and guidelines for BMP (R, M36, FCUP, PU)
D6.1. Report on the analysis of the field study area characteristics (R, M12, SUEN, PP)
D6.2. EU legislation SWOT analysis report (R, M24, SUEN, PU)
D6.3. Policy guideline report for the utilization of AGRISENSUS (R, M36, SUEN, PU)
D6.4. Report on Konya Basin field application results (R, M36, EGE, PP)
D7.1. Demonstration Report, containing collected minutes of UNG Meetings and Demonstration reports, and all dissemination activities (R, M12, M24, M36, WUR, PU).
D7.2. Dissemination Report containing 2 Factsheets including BMP on the nutrient and PPP-sensors and its application and magazine articles (all partners) (R, M12, M24, M36, WUR, PU)
D7.3. Two Scientific papers (O, M36, EGE, INESC TEC, PU)

References coordinator and  leaders of  each WP:
WP1 (INESCTEC): José Boaventura Cunha
WP2 (EGE): Suna Timur
WP3 (RISE): Klara Löfkvist
WP4 (RITEC): Francisco Millán
WP5 (FCUP): Susana Carvalho
WP6 (SUEN): Aslihan Kerc
WP7 (WUR): Jos Balendonck

Contact Point for  Communication/Dissemination activities:
José Boaventura-Cunha (;
Jos Balendonck (;
Aslihan Kerç (

Main outputs:

  • Monteiro-Silva, F.; Jorge, P.; Martins, R. “Optical Sensing of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium: A Spectrophotometrical Approach toward Smart Nutrient Deployment”. Chemosensors 2019, 7(4), 51.
  • Bor, E. Man, O. Ugurlu, A.E. Ceylan, S. Balaban, C. Durmus, Z.P. Gumus, S. Evran, S. Timur, 2020. in vitro Selection of Aptamer for Imidacloprid Recognition as Model Analyte and Construction of a Water Analysis Platform. Electroanalysis.

More results on the project: Data and resources

Contact Point for Open Data/Open Access activities:
Filipe Santos (

Picture of the research team:
ines tec

(photo: by Tatiana Pinho)

1 Due to legal reasons, the project’ original acronym was replaced by AGRINuPeS with the agreement of the CSC, the WaterWorks2015 Coordinator and the EC.

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published on 2017/03/21 10:00:00 GMT+1 last modified 2022-05-10T14:03:59+01:00