09 Dec 2022
09 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Organic and inorganic nitrogen amendments suppress decomposition of biodegradable plastic mulch films

Sreejata Bandopadhyay1,a, Marie English1, Marife B. Anunciado1, Mallari Starrett1, Jialin Hu1, José E. Liquet y González1, Douglas G. Hayes1, Sean M. Schaeffer1, and Jennifer M. DeBruyn1 Sreejata Bandopadhyay et al.
  • 1Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
  • apresent address: Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States

Abstract. Biodegradable mulch films (BDMs) are a sustainable and promising alternative to non-biodegradable polyethylene mulches used in crop production systems. Nitrogen amendments in the form of fertilizers are used by growers to enhance soil and plant-available nutrients, however, there is limited research on how these additions impact biodegradation of BDMs tilled into soils. A four-month soil microcosm study was used to investigate the effects of inorganic (ammonium nitrate) and organic (urea and amino acids) nitrogen application on biodegradable mulch decomposition. We investigated the response of soil bacterial, fungal and ammonia-oxidizing microbial abundance along with soil nitrogen pools and enzyme activities. Microcosms were comprised of soils from two diverse climates (Knoxville, TN, USA and Mount Vernon, WA, USA) and BioAgri, a biodegradable mulch film made of Mater-Bi®; a bioplastic raw material containing starch and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT). Both organic and inorganic nitrogen amendments inhibited mulch decomposition, soil bacterial abundances and enzyme activities. The greatest inhibition of mulch biodegradation in TN soils was observed with urea amendment where biodegradation was reduced by about 6 % compared to the no-nitrogen control. In WA soils, all nitrogen amendments suppressed biodegradation by about 1 % compared to the no-nitrogen control. Ammonia monooxygenase amoA gene abundances were increased in TN soils in all treatments, but reduced for all treatments in WA soils. However, a significantly higher nitrate and lower ammonium concentration was seen for all nitrogen treatments compared to no-nitrogen controls in both TN and WA. This study suggests that addition of nitrogen, particularly inorganic amendments, could negatively affect mulch decomposition but that mulch decomposition does not negatively affect soil nitrification activity.

Sreejata Bandopadhyay et al.

Status: open (until 15 Feb 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1333', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Jan 2023 reply

Sreejata Bandopadhyay et al.

Data sets

Datasets associated with Organic and inorganic nitrogen amendments suppress decomposition of biodegradable plastic mulch films Sreejata Bandopadhyay

Sreejata Bandopadhyay et al.


Total article views: 169 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
125 35 9 169 23 5 5
  • HTML: 125
  • PDF: 35
  • XML: 9
  • Total: 169
  • Supplement: 23
  • BibTeX: 5
  • EndNote: 5
Views and downloads (calculated since 09 Dec 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 09 Dec 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 155 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 155 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 26 Jan 2023
Short summary
We added organic and inorganic nitrogen amendments to two soil types in a laboratory incubation study in order to understand how that would impact biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM) decomposition. We found that nitrogen amendments, particularly urea and inorganic nitrogen, suppressed BDM degradation in both soil types. However, we found limited impact of BDM addition on soil nitrification, suggesting that overall microbial processes were not compromised due to the addition of BDMs.