Deep Frontier

Enhance food production in a sustainable way

The Deep Frontier is an excellent example of thinking differently. The project is looking into the deep soil layers to investigate whether we can utilize subsoil resources and deep rooted crops to produce food in sustainable ways.

The objectives of the Deep Frontier project are to develop and study systems with much deeper root growth and resource use than current cropping systems. The focus is on soil layers from 1 to 5 meters depth, which is below the main root zone of current crops, but within depths that can be reached by plant roots.

Studying biology in deep soil layers is challenging and the scientific documentation and understanding of water and nutrient uptake from there is quite limited. Hence, the project has developed unique research facilities in which research methods can be developed and experiments carried out.   

Unique research facilities
The research facilities are one of a kind and consist of semi-field and field conditions:

• 12 root towers, each being 4 meters tall with transparent walls and sliding boards to allow for visual analysis, sample taking and injection of isotopic tracers
• 24 field plots, each with a depth of 5 meters with minirhizotrons and ingrowth cores. 

The Deep Frontier project is funded by the Villum Foundation and is carried out by:

Visit the Deep Frontier website