The development of a new generation of drugs to be used with bio-decomposable materials that decompose to an innocuous product under the influence of microflora and give gradual release of an active principle in the soil is the new area of research in the field of agriculture. Nitrogen is one of these elements, which is often the missing piece for the growth and development of plants. Plant-available nitrogen in the soil is typically small. Its compounds are chemically mobile and easily leached from the soil. In this connection, there is a task of developing forms of nitrogen fertilizers that provide slow-release nitrogen and the consistency of the concentration in the soil.
"The key point for the development of such drugs is the presence of environmentally safe and bio-decomposable material. We have developed and implemented the technology for the synthesis of bio-decomposable polyesters of microbiological origin, effective as a material for products for biomedical applications, and also explored patterns of their decomposition in soil and other environments," says Tatiana Volova, head of the studies, professor at the Siberian Federal University (SibFU), and the head of laboratory in the Institute of Biophysics at the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
To create the slowly decaying structures, the research teams used a biodegradable polymer called poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P3HB). Scientists mixed powder of the biopolymer with wood flour and ammonium nitrate. The resulting pass was then pressed into tablets and used in the experiments with wheat. The disintegration of biodegradable tablets with the addition of ammonium nitrate was successful.
This method was tested with several options for fertilizing plants. Wheat was grown without fertilizers but with the addition of pure ammonium nitrate and the application of pressed pellets or tablets that were optionally coated with a film layer of the biopolymer. The best results occurred when fertilizer was packed in double protection, with the core of the tablet, including fertilizer and P3HB (and sometimes wood flour), covered in a polymer film. In this case, the tablet fertilizer was supplied to the soil with a relatively stable rate within two months due to the slow decomposition of the film.
Biomass of wheat in the experiment that had a hard packed fertilizer was highest, and a quarter of those exceeded the biomass of wheat that was grown with the addition of the normal fertilizer.