Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 438–448 | Cite as

Plant Biostimulant Regulatory Framework: Prospects in Europe and Current Situation at International Level

  • Federica Caradonia
  • Valerio Battaglia
  • Lorenzo Righi
  • Giacomo Pascali
  • Anna La TorreEmail author


This review analyses the current regulatory procedures for plant biostimulants, both at an EU level and beyond the EU, and explores the future regulation of these substances in the EU. Plant biostimulants are defined as products that stimulate plant nutritional processes regardless of the product’s nutrient content, with the sole aim of improving one or more of the following characteristics of the plant and the plant rhizosphere or phyllosphere: the efficiency of nutrient use, tolerance to abiotic stresses, crop quality traits, availability of confined nutrients in the soil and rhizosphere, humification and degradation of organic compounds in the soil. This definition is reported in the proposals for new rules to regulate making CE-marked fertiliser products available on the market. This regulation, which includes a plant biostimulants category, will repeal the existing Fertilisers Regulation (EC) No. 2003/2003. This category of compounds is also used in non-European countries. Currently, as there are different market conditions and different national regulation requirements for plant biostimulants in different countries, the non-harmonised regulatory processes can lead to unfair competition between operators. The assessment of plant biostimulants should be harmonised as far as possible, to avoid fragmentation and ensure a level, reliable playing field. It is essential that a common market is created for these substances.


European legislation Non-European countries Definition Innovative fertilisers Plant growth Integrated and organic farming 



The authors would like to thank the PQAI I “Organic Farming and National Food Quality Systems and General Affairs” Office of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, for funding the project: “Strategies and possible alternatives to reduce copper use in organic farming—ALT.RAMEinBIO”, in which this study was conducted.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria - Centro di ricerca Difesa e Certificazione (CREA-DC)RomeItaly

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