Italian researchers develop biodegradable transparent films for agriculture

April 23, 2003

Brussels, 22 Apr 2003

An Italian research institute has succeeded in developing biodegradable polymers for use in the agriculture sector.

The Italian national research council's Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Polymers (ICTP) has focused its attention on the polymer Polyvinylalcohol (PVOH), which, having been plasticised, can be melt processed to form clear, tough films. These could be used to cover whole fields or for individual tunnels.

The new material is water resistant and long lasting. Upon soil burial, microorganisms attack the material's biodegradable bridges, leaving behind the PVOH, which can be easily assimilated. The material has been tested to verify its transparency and opacity to infrared radiation.

The institute is now seeking financial support and collaboration in order to commercialise the material. Although originally intended for the agriculture sector, the discovery could have wide ranging implications for other sectors, and make a substantial contribution to sustainability.

For further information, please consult the:
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CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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