The production and management of crops uses plastics for many applications (e.g., low tunnels, high tunnels, greenhouses, mulching, silage bags, hay bales, pheromone traps, coatings of fertilizers or pesticides or hormones or seeds, and nursery pots and containers for growing transplants). All these applications have led some authors to adopt the term “plasticulture” when discussing the use of plastic materials in agriculture and related industries. Unfortunately, the sustainability of this use of plastics is low, and renewability and degradability have become key words in the debate over sustainable production and utilization of plastic. Recently, researchers and the plastics industry have made strong efforts (i) to identify new biopolymers and natural additives from renewable sources that can be used in plastics production and (ii) to enhance the degradability (biological or physical) of the new ecologically sustainable materials. In the present review, we describe the main research results, current applications, patents that have been applied for in the last two decades, and future perspectives on sustainable use of plastics to support crop production. The article presents some promising patents on bio-based and biodegradable plastics for use in crop production.
Keywords: Bio-based plastics, biodegradability, coating, compostability, horticultural containers, mulching, plasticulture, polymers, Crop Production, reusing, recycling, transforming, biofuels, feedstock, dedicated crops, agroindustrial wastes, seaweeds, disintegration, embrittlement, fragmentation, mineralization, greenhouses, fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, Starches, amylopectin, Polylactic Acids (PLAs), Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAS), Polybutylene Succinate (PBS), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), puncture test, thermographic analysis, Yucca schidigera, plasticizers, colorants, agronomic technique, tragacanth, sodium, ethyl cellulose, acacia, cellulose, methyl cellulose, hydroxyethyl, acetate (PVAc), polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl, azadirachtin, Azadirachta indica, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), Bradyrhizobium japonicum, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Thiobacillus thiooxidans, Rhizobium
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