Biodegradable plastics for improving soil and fruit quality characteristics

D. Redondo, C. Peñalva, J. Val, F. Braca, M. Pérez
Current existing intensive farming practices require the use of large quantities of mulching film and fruit protection bags since they prevent the growth of weeds, regulate soil temperature, retain water and nutrients and protect crops from insects. For these farming practices, single-use conventional non-degradable polymers are used, creating a serious problem of waste management since it is time-consuming, expensive to recycle and, more importantly, is non-environmentally friendly contaminating the environment. By using biodegradable plastics, this problem could be solved by preventing the creation of waste. The objectives of our study were to produce an innovative biobased and biodegradable plastic film that entirely biodegrades in natural conditions on the field within a short time after their usage and to know its effects in tomato and peach crops. For this purpose, this film has been used to produce both biomulching to which specific oligo elements has been added to test in tomato crops and biobags to protect the fruits from insects and improve quality at harvest in peaches. Tests carried out on tomato showed that these new bioplastics improved soil quality by increasing (up to 13%) the concentration of some oligo elements and by decreasing (65%) blossom end rot. In the case of peaches, by using biobags, a uniform colour (without red blush), which is a required characteristic in this type of commodity (Protected Designation of Origin 'Calanda') was obtained, with a decrease in a* colour coordinate (more than 2 points). Moreover, bioplastics only took 6 months to degrade completely within the soil.
Redondo, D., Peñalva, C., Val, J., Braca, F. and Pérez, M. (2019). Biodegradable plastics for improving soil and fruit quality characteristics. Acta Hortic. 1252, 69-76
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1252.9
biobased film, mulching, fruit protection bag, tomato, peach, Life Multibiosol

Acta Horticulturae