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Investigation of poly(glycerol-citrate) polymer as protective coating for boosting microbial inoculation effect in soybean plants

Grant number: 21/13645-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering - Nonmetallic Materials
Principal Investigator:Luiz Henrique Capparelli Mattoso
Grantee:Amanda Soares Giroto
Supervisor: Nicolai David Jablonowski
Host Institution: Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA). Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento (Brasil). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:18/10104-1 - Nanocomposites Preparation from Urea modified with Glycerol for optimization of Process of Controlled Release of Nutrients, BP.PD


Soybean is one of the leading products of Brazilian agriculture. This crop is very demanding on nitrogen, but as a legume crop, it obtains most of its N requirements through a biological atmospheric nitrogen (N2)fixing process in symbiosis with bacteria of the species Bradyrhizobium japonicum.The biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is both realized by the bacteria species Bradyrhizobium japonicum and B. elkanii associated with the plant's roots, where N2captured and transformed into plant available ammonium. These bacteria are generally co-applied in pre-inoculated seeds, few days in advance of sowing. However, soybean seeds should be treated with fungicides to avoid pathogens, and the compatibility between fungicides and inoculants is a significant problem. Fungicides may affect several steps of the symbiosis, from the survival of the rhizobia on the seed to nodule formation and N2 fixation efficiency. Seed coating with polymers could be used to tackle this issue, avoiding the direct contact between the inoculant and fungicide. Besides that, polymers formulations can encapsulate the living cells, protect the microorganisms against many environmental stresses, can be stored dry at ambient temperatures for prolonged periods, and release them to the soil gradually when soil microorganisms degrade the polymers. Polymers soluble in liquid inoculant formulations are convenient for batch processing and seed application in simple processes. Glycerol is one of the most common culture mediums for inoculants, and its polymerization could provide an adequate material for encapsulation and coating. By reacting glycerol with diacid monomers, it increases the size of chain-forming structures (polyglycerol) that, after degradation, would return to its native glycerol form, being favorable for inoculants survival. The poly (glycerol citrate) (PGCit), a biodegradable aliphatic polyester made by polycondensation of glycerol with citric acid, has potential application advantages. Citric acid is one of the most common organic acids in the industry. In turn, glycerol is the main waste in the biodiesel production. Currently, there are no studies concerning the utilization of PGCit as a coating material for seeds, being that a detailed investigation is needed to adjust its properties for such application. The current proposal aims to investigate the biodegradable polymer PGCit as inoculation medium for Bradyrhizobium, including processing routes, stability, solubilization, and physical properties; and to evaluate its behavior as coating for inoculated soybean seeds, emplyoing a greenhouse experiment using automatic plant phenotyping technologies - to ensure a complete and standardized evaluation, with no influences of other environmental effects. The potential of N2-fixation soybean in soil will be invasively assessed using the natural abundance ´ 15N method. It will take full advantage of the expertise of Dr. Nicolai D. Jablonowski and colleagues at the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ), Germany, which is a reference group for studies on plant-soil interactions. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BORGES, ROGER; SOTILES, ANNE RAQUEL; GIROTO, AMANDA SOARES; FERNANDES GUIMARAES, GELTON GERALDO; WYPYCH, FERNANDO; JABLONOWSKI, NICOLAI DAVID; RIBEIRO, CAUE. Mechanochemical Activation of Elemental Sulfur Increases Its Bioavailability in the Forage Species Brachiaria Production. ACS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, v. 2, n. 6, p. 8-pg., . (16/10636-8, 18/10104-1, 21/13645-6)
VALLE, STELLA F.; GIROTO, AMANDA S.; RIBEIRO, CAUE. Unveiling the Role of Polysulfide Matrices in Phosphate Diffusion for Controlled Release Fertilizers. ACS APPLIED POLYMER MATERIALS, v. 5, n. 9, p. 9-pg., . (21/13645-6, 18/10104-1)

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