Biodegradability in soil determination and fate of some emerging biodegradable materials for agricultural mulching
Universitat de Lleida. Departament de Hortofructicultura, Botànica i Jardineria
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The purpose of this PhD thesis was to evaluate the biodegradability potential and ecotoxicological effects of several biodegradable plastics for agricultural use under controlled laboratory conditions in soil. In this study, commercial and still in experimental stage biodegradable plastic films were chosen: Mater-Bi® (corn starch), Bio-Flex® (polylactic acid), Biofilm® (cereal flour), Bioplast® (potato starch), MirelTM (polyhydroxyalcanoates) Ecovio® and Bionelle®. In addition, a sheet commercially known as MimGreen® paper was evaluated. Initially, a gravimetric and FTIR analyses were carried out to determine changes in both weight loss and molecular changes in the plastics respectively. A second experiment consisted in assessing the biodegradability of the materials by designing and building a respirometric system. This system allowed me to measure, with a higher sensitive, the biodegradation process of the materials under laboratory conditions in soil. In addition, I compared the biodegradability of these materials with the remains of a typical crop used for mulch application, tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum). Finally, the ecotoxicological effects of biodegradable films on Zea mays plants, earthworms Eisenia fetida and microbial soil activity were evaluated using the standardised regulations or existing methods. Thus, I was able to prove ecological advantages of these materials.
- Tesis Doctorals