LIFE HORTISED - Demonstration of the suitability of dredged remediated sediments for safe and sustainable horticulture production

LIFE14 ENV/IT/000113

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Edgardo Giordani
Tel: +39055 4574050
Email: edgardo.giordani@unifi.it

Project description:


Exploitation of peatlands has been steadily increasing over the last 25 years, leading to the loss of 70% of peatland areas in Europe and, in some cases, to the destruction of natural habitats. Yet, peat remains important for horticultural growing, with no reliable alternatives in sight. Tested alternative materials, such as tree bark, wood fibres, composted sludge and green waste, have not been accepted by producers as acceptable substitutes.

The recent EU Waste Directive supports the re-use of the sediments dredged in ports which, unlike those dredged from highly contaminated sites, can be re-used without specific remediation actions (if they do not contain excessive levels of organic and inorganic contaminants, as determined by official methods). However, current EU legislation is unclear on the possibility of using treated dredged sediments as by-products in agriculture, and European countries rely on their own national legislation frameworks or on the regulations of local authorities.


The general objective of the LIFE HORTISED project is to demonstrate the suitability of dredged remediated sediments as an alternative to peat in the preparation of growing media in horticulture. It will demonstrate the potential of an innovative sediment-based growing media in the cultivation of pomegranate and strawberries, as representative plants at farm scale in Italy and Spain. Results will be compared with the typical cultivation of the same fruits grown with the use of the traditional peat-based growing media. Finally, the project will draw up guidelines for the safe and sustainable use of sediments as components of horticultural growing media.

Expected results:

  • An innovative technology and related protocols for more sustainable fruit production achieved with sediment-based growing media;
  • Evaluation of the suitability of the sediments for growth in containers and production of two fruit species (pomegranate and strawberry), also with respect to heavy metals and other pollutants contents;
  • Morphological, biochemical and sensorial characterisation of two strawberry and two pomegranate cultivars, grown on substrates containing treated sediments;
  • 10-20% reduction in the use of peat due to its replacement with treated sediments; and
  • 80-90% reduction in CO2 emissions linked to the replacement of peat with treated sediments.



Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Hazardous waste
Waste - Waste use


hazardous waste‚  horticulture‚  waste use

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2014)398 - "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" (02.07.2014)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Department of Agri-Food Production Sciences and of Environment - University of Florence
Type of organisation University
Description The Department of Agri-Food Production Sciences and of Environment (DISPAA) at the University of Florence was created in 2000. It has research groups focused on structural biology, biotechnology, plant pathology, entomology, applied genetics, microbiology and agricultural techniques.
Partners UMH(Miguel Hernández University of Elche), Spain ISECNR(Institute of Ecosystem Study of the National Research Council), Italy ZELARI(ZELARI PIANTE s.s.), Italy CALIPLANT(VIVEROS CALIPLANT, S.L.), Spain


Project reference LIFE14 ENV/IT/000113
Duration 01-OCT-2015 to 31-MAR -2018
Total budget 1,240,900.00 €
EU contribution 700,140.00 €
Project location Galicia(España) Asturias(España) Cantabria(España) País Vasco(España) Navarra(España) Rioja(España) Aragón(España) Madrid(España) Castilla-León(España) Castilla-La Mancha(España) Extremadura(España) Cataluña(España) Comunidad Valenciana(España) Baleares(España) Andalucía(España) Murcia(España) Ceuta y Melilla(España) Canarias(España) Piemonte(Italia) Valle d'Aosta(Italia) Liguria(Italia) Lombardia(Italia) Trentino-Alto Adige(Italia) Veneto(Italia) Friuli-Venezia Giulia(Italia) Emilia-Romagna(Italia) Toscana(Italia) Umbria(Italia) Marche(Italia) Lazio(Italia) Campania(Italia) Abruzzo(Italia) Molise(Italia) Puglia(Italia) Basilicata(Italia) Calabria(Italia) Sicilia(Italia) Sardegna(Italia)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version