In 2015, Lincoln Agritech’s Biotechnology Team was awarded a two-year government grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Smart Ideas Fund to produce a new nitrogen-fixing mulch film for horticultural applications.
Mulch films are plastic coverings placed over the soil to provide optimal conditions for plant growth and weed suppression. They are routinely used in horticulture and cropping systems worldwide.
Lincoln Agritech’s Biotechnology Team devised a novel approach and tested the concept of embedding nitrogen-fixing capabilities into mulch films. This novel application was aimed to reduce the farming reliance on mineral nitrogen fertilisation and resultant nitrate leaching.
The researchers examined two nitrogen-fixing catalytic systems including the use of photocatalytic nanoparticles and the addition of nitrogen-fixing bacteria into mulch films.
Substantial new knowledge was generated from this project, specifically in the areas of photocatalysis and in situ nitrogen fixation.
This research programme was led by Lincoln Agritech and includes research partners Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes at Rennes University (France), University of Canterbury, and Plant and Food Research; with industry support from Resene Paints.
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Lincoln Agritech to embark on four new research projects