Effect of Nanoclay Addition on the Biodegradability and Performance of Starch-Based Nanocomposites as Mulch Films

  • Danila MerinoEmail author
  • Andrea Y. Mansilla
  • Claudia A. Casalongué
  • Vera A. Alvarez
Original paper


The biodegradation and performance of potential agricultural mulch films prepared from native and oxidized corn starch nanocomposites with chitosan-modified bentonite were studied under simulated soil test conditions. Samples were removed at different times and their wet and dry weights were registered. A photographic register of films appearance was also included. Bio-physicochemical changes along biodegradation progress were followed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TG). Results indicate that all samples degraded in a three step process and that they almost fully degrade by 100 days of testing. The chemical modification of starch and the addition of fillers did not produce significant differences in biodegradation rate. Microbial attack, mainly by fungal microorganisms started at the end of the first week and produced a 50% weight loss in approximately 35 days. Biological assays indicate that germination was negatively affected by proposed starch-based films.


Oxidized starch In-soil biodegradation Mulch films Biodegradable Bentonite Chitosan 



The authors acknowledge the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion (ANPCyT), National Research Council (CONICET), and the National University of Mar del Plata (UNMdP) for the financial support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Shah AA, Hasan F, Hameed A, Ahmed S (2008) Biological degradation of plastics: a comprehensive review. Biotechnol Adv 26:246–265. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lucas N, Bienaime C, Belloy C et al (2008) Polymer biodegradation: mechanisms and estimation techniques—a review. Chemosphere 73:429–442. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cano AI, Cháfer M, Chiralt A, González-Martínez C (2016) Biodegradation behavior of starch-PVA films as affected by the incorporation of different antimicrobials. Polym Degrad Stab 132:11–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Merino D, Mansilla AY, Casalongué CA, Alvarez VA (2018) Preparation, characterization, and in vitro testing of nanoclay antimicrobial activities and elicitor capacity. J Agric Food. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Merino D, Gutiérrez TJ, Mansilla AY et al (2018) Critical evaluation of starch-based antibacterial nanocomposites as agricultural mulch films: study on their interactions with water and light. ACS Sustain Chem Eng. Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Alvarez VA, Ruseckaite RA, Vázquez A (2006) Degradation of sisal fibre/mater Bi-Y biocomposites buried in soil. Polym Degrad Stab 91:3156–3162. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    United States Department of Agriculture (2018) National soil survey handbook (NSSH)| NRCS Soils. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  8. 8.
    Torres FG, Troncoso OP, Torres C et al (2011) Biodegradability and mechanical properties of starch films from Andean crops. Int J Biol Macromol 48:603–606. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zain AHM, Ab Wahab MK, Ismail H (2018) Biodegradation behaviour of thermoplastic starch: the roles of carboxylic acids on cassava starch. J Polym Environ 26:691–700. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Seligra PG, Medina Jaramillo C, Famá L, Goyanes S (2016) Biodegradable and non-retrogradable eco-films based on starch–glycerol with citric acid as crosslinking agent. Carbohydr Polym 138:66–74. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Scott G (1997) Abiotic control of polymer biodegradation. Trends Polym Sci 5:361–368Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chuayjuljit S, Hosililak S, Athisart A (2009) Thermoplastic cassava starch/sorbitol-modified montmorillonite nanocomposites blended with low density polyethylene: properties and biodegradability study. J Met Mater Miner 19:59–65Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rhim J-W, Kim Y-T (2014) Biopolymer-based composite packaging materials with nanoparticles. Innov Food Packag. Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Luchese CL, Pavoni JMF, dos Santos NZ et al (2018) Effect of chitosan addition on the properties of films prepared with corn and cassava starches. J Food Sci Technol 55:2963–2973. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Navarro Reyes OE (2013) Micología veterinaria. Universidad Nacional Agraria, ManaguaGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cunha PLR, Maciel JS, Sierakowski MR et al (2007) Oxidation of cashew tree gum exudate polysaccharide with TEMPO reagent. J Braz Chem Soc 18:85–92. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Roa DF, Santagapita PR, Buera MP, Tolaba MP (2014) Amaranth milling strategies and fraction characterization by FT-IR. Food Bioprocess Technol 7:711–718. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Abd. Shukur MF (2015) Characterization of ion conducting solid biopolymer electrolytes based on starch-chitosan blend and application in electrochemical devices/Muhammad Fadhlullah bin Abd. Shukur. Dissertation, University of MalayaGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Merino D, Gutiérrez TJ, Alvarez VA (2019) Structural and thermal properties of agricultural mulch films based on native and oxidized corn starch nanocomposites. Starch—Stärke. Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gutiérrez TJ, Herniou-Julien C, Álvarez K, Alvarez VA (2018) Structural properties and in vitro digestibility of edible and pH-sensitive films made from guinea arrowroot starch and wastes from wine manufacture. Carbohydr Polym 184:135–143. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    di Franco CR, Cyras VP, Busalmen JP et al (2004) Degradation of polycaprolactone/starch blends and composites with sisal fibre. Polym Degrad Stab 86:95–103. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Allan CR, Hadwiger LA (1979) The fungicidal effect of chitosan on fungi of varying cell wall composition. Exp Mycol 3:285–287. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grupo de Materiales Compuestos Termoplásticos (CoMP), Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencia y Tecnología de Materiales (INTEMA), Facultad de IngenieríaUniversidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP) y Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Mar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas. UE CONICET-UNMDP, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina

Personalised recommendations