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PVA/starch fertilizer microcapsules containing macro and micronutrients for a sustainable agriculture

Grant number: 19/21669-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Roselena Faez
Grantee:Felipe Bernegossi Villa
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Agrárias (CCA). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Araras , SP, Brazil


Given the population increase, there is a need to expand food production. In agriculture, fertilizer is used to supply nutrients to the plants and increase productivity, but at the same time, there is a problem: nutrient leaching. As a solution we have the programmed release of fertilizers, which supplies the need for nutrients at the initial and subsequent moments, and, as a consequence, would reduce the leaching problem. Nutrient microencapsulation with polymers is a viable alternative, but non-biodegradable polymers are often used, which makes the idea unsustainable. As an option, the project suggests the formation of microcapsules of starch, a low cost, environmentally friendly biopolymer coated with poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA), a polymer that shows high potential for biodegradation in presence of starch. The microcapsules will be produced by the spray drying technique using a triple fluid atomizing nozzle, where the inner and outer layers will be composed of starch/micronutrients and PVA/macronutrients, respectively. Rhodamine B dye will be used with starch to evaluate the microcapsule formation. The release in water medium for dye and nutrients will be evaluated. The developed materials will be characterized by structural, thermal and morphologically. The results expected to contribute positively to the development of environmentally friendly fertilizers for sustainable agriculture.

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