PVDF/KNO3 Composite Sub-Microfibers Produced by Solution Blow Spinning as a Hydrophobic Matrix for Fertilizer Delivery System
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Nutrient supplementation is a common practice in agriculture to increase crop productivity in the field. This supplementation is usually excessive, causing nutrient leaching in periods of rainfall leading to environmental problems. To overcome such issues, many studies have been devoted to developing polymeric matrices for the controlled and continuous release of nutrients, reducing losses, and keeping plants nourished for as long as possible. However, the release mechanism of these matrices is based on water diffusion. They start immediately for swellable polymeric matrices, which is not interesting and also may cause some waste, because the plant only needs nutrition only after the germination process. Here, as proof of concept, we tested a hydrophobic polymeric matrix based on sub-microfibers mats, produced by solution blow spinning, filled with potassium nitrate (KNO3) for the controlled release of nutrients to plants. In this work, we used the polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) polymer to produce composite nanofibers containing pure potassium nitrate in the proportion of 10% weight. PVDF/KNO sub-microfibers mats were obtained with 370 nm average diameter and high occurrence of beads. We performed a release test using PVDF/KNO3 mats in a water bath. The release kinetic tests showed an anomalous delivery mechanism, but the composite polymeric fibrous mat showed itself to be a promising alternative to delay the nutrient delivery for the plants.