E. Schettini, L. Sartore, M. Barbaglio, G. Vox
Low density polyethylene (LDPE) films are widespread used in agriculture for soil mulching. The use of LDPE mulching films causes the serious drawback of huge quantities of waste to be disposed of. Over the last years the growing environmental awareness has been prompting the research to develop a new generation of mulching products starting with raw materials from renewable origin. These materials have to retain their physical and mechanical properties while in use and have to be compostable or biodegradable at the end of their life, degrading via micro-organisms into carbon dioxide or methane, water and biomass. The research is focused on the development of novel biodegradable polymeric materials based on hydrolyzed proteins, derived from waste products of the leather industry. Biodegradable soil mulching coatings were realized with these biodegradable polymeric materials by means of spray techniques; the coatings were tested in a Ligustrum ovalifolium cultivation carried out inside a greenhouse. This paper describes the functionalities of the new bio-based mulching coatings, which were developed and tested in real scale greenhouse cultivation tests. During the trial, the biodegradable soil mulching materials showed suitable properties for an efficient and profitable use in agriculture. The innovative biodegradable spray coatings lasted up to 18 months. The biodegradable materials could be the environmentally friendly alternatives to synthetic petro-chemical polymers and could contribute to a sustainable agriculture.
Schettini, E., Sartore, L., Barbaglio, M. and Vox, G. (2012). HYDROLYZED PROTEIN BASED MATERIALS FOR BIODEGRADABLE SPRAY MULCHING COATINGS. Acta Hortic. 952, 359-366
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.952.45
sustainable agriculture, raw materials from renewable origin, waste products of the leather industry

Acta Horticulturae