Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Henry, Hugh A.L

2nd Supervisor

Gillies, Elizabeth R.

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

The use of nitrogen-based fertilizers continues to accelerate with human population growth and increases in global food requirements. Enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) have been developed to improve the synchronization between nutrient supply and crop nutrient demand. However, many of the current controlled release fertilizers are coated with non-degradable polymers that contribute to accumulation of microplastics within ecosystems. This thesis describes research towards the development of a new class of fertilizer coatings using a self-immolative polymer known as poly (ethyl glyoxylate) (PEtG). PEtG itself does not have suitable properties to produce a viable coating but once blended with another degradable polyester such as polycaprolactone its overall properties improve. I demonstrated that PEtG with a pH-sensitive carbamate end-cap degraded in response to the presence of plant roots, which suggests that fertilizer coatings could be developed with PEtG that may release nutrients more efficiently while degrading into innocuous by products.

Available for download on Saturday, August 17, 2019

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