Screening   and designing biostimulants using electrochemical sensors and fluorescent bioassay: filling the gap between industry and science.


PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2021-0798 (116PD/2022)

The empirical development in the biostimulants industry has created a gap between the positive results obtained in plant growth and the scientific knowledge about the mode of action of these biostimulants that favor plant growth.

Project goal

The aim of the BioScreen project is to screen / evaluate biostimulants with a method based on electrochemical sensors modified selectively for reactive oxygen / nitrogen species (especially peroxynitrite), as these oxidative species modulate plant growth. Confirmation and validation of this method will lead to the creation of an analytical method for the rapid and efficient selection of biostimulants, a method in line with climate change mitigation and with bioeconomy.

Contracting authority: Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI)

Implementation period: 15/05/2022-15/04/2024

Budget: 250.000 lei

Project director: Dr. Chim. Ioana Silvia Hosu

Mentor: Dr. Habil. Florin Oancea

  • Scientific concept
  • Novelty
  • Specific objectives
  • Phase I
  • Phase II
  • Phase III
  • Results
Scientific concept

This project proposes the use of peroxynitrite selective biosensors for the screening  and the selection between different statistically designed biostimulant formulations, as well as the validation (mainly fluorescent) and  the confirmation of the selected compositions with plant bioassays (studying the resistance to salts, accumulation of biomass/ secondary metabolites).


The lack of a strategy in the design of biostimulants must be considered by the scientific community. Biochemical priming is one of the proposed mechanisms in the mode of action of biostimulants and involves increasing tolerance to reactive oxygen / nitrogen species (such as peroxynitrite) under conditions of abiotic stress. Studying and screening different plant mixtures to scavenge  these species will lead to faster and more efficient development of biostimulants.

Specific objectives
  • Development of a high-throughput  screening technique based on (bio)sensors for the detection and screening of peroxynitrite scavenging in compositions based on active ingredients generated from natural bioproducts.
  • Evaluation of the peroxynitrite scavenging effect of the chosen composition, in plants / plant cells / plant tissues / plant extracts.
  • Confirmation and validation of the peroxynitrite scavenging composition by bioassays
  • Management, dissemination and communication of project results.
Phase I

Screening of the activity of some biostimulants with the ROS / RNS sensor.

Deployment period: 15/05/2022 – 31/12/2022


  • Preparation of mixtures with biostimulant potential and acquisition of a potentiostat / modular equipment / module.
  • Development of (bio) ROS / RNS sensors – first part.
  • Management (purchase of equipment) and dissemination (reporting, communication).
Phase II

Confirmation of the activity of some biostimulants with the (bio) ROS / RNS sensor by comparison with the results of the biotests.

Deployment period: 01/01/2023 – 31/12/2023


  • Development of (bio) ROS / RNS sensors – part two.
  • Biostimulant activity evaluation / screening with (bio) ROS / RNS sensors.
  • Adaptation and application to plants / plant cells / plant tissues of a fluorophore-based method and comparison of results with those of ROS / RNS sensors.
  • Selection of mixtures of biostimulants for plants with ROS / RNS sensor.
  • Demonstration of the effects of biostimulants by biotests on plants (first part).
  • Management and dissemination (Reporting, communication, patent application, 1 article submitted for publication).
Phase III

Demonstration of biosensor functionality with ROS / RNS sensors in the selection of synergistic mixtures of plant biostimulants (validation of selected biostimulant mixtures).

Deployment period: 01/01/2024 – 15/04/2024


  • Demonstration of the effects of biostimulants by biotests on plants (part two)
  • Management and dissemination (Reporting, 1 article submitted for publication).
Expected results
Scientific results

– formulation of mixtures with biostimulant potential for screening and selection study according to biostimulant effect

– (bio) ROS / RNS sensors developed for biostimulant screening

– initial evaluation / screening of biostimulating compositions by means of (bio) ROS / RNS sensors

– adaptation for plants / cells / tissues / plant extracts of a fluorophore-based method for the determination of biostimulating activity

– application of the modified fluorescent method to mixtures with biostimulant potential, in order to select a synergistic biostimulant mixture.

– comparing the results of electrochemical sensors with the results of the fluorescent method

– demonstration of the effects of biostimulants by biotests on plants (eg measurement of accumulated biomass / assessment of increased resistance to different stress stimuli / determination of the accumulation of other molecules such as secondary metabolites, after treatment with biostimulants).

Result indicators
  • participation in an international conference presenting the development of ROS / RNS sensors
  • participation in an international conference presenting biostimulant screening
  • submitting a patent application for biostimulant screening
  • submission for publication of a manuscript on initial assessment / screening and confirmation of biostimulant mixtures, by correlating
  • electrochemical methods with fluorescent methods.
  • submission for publication a manuscript on the demonstration of the effects of biostimulants by biotests on plants.
Obtained results

Scientific papers published

  1. Hosu IS, Sobaszek M, Ficek M, Bogdanowicz R, Coffinier Y. Boron-doped carbon nanowalls for fast and direct detection of cytochrome C and ricin by matrix-free laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. Talanta. 2023;252:123778;

Participation to scientific meetings

  1. Hosu I.S., Rădițoiu V., Brânzanic A.M.V., Coffinier Y., “The influence of different metal phthalocyanines on the electro-reduction of peroxynitrite for biosensing”, PRIORITIES OF CHEMISTRY FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – PRIOCHEM XVIII, 26-28th October 2022, Bucharest, Romania.
Phase reports
  • Under construction