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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC RESOURCES, EVALUATION, AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT OF WOODY LANDSCAPE PLANT GERMPLASM

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit

Title: The effect of biobased plastic resins containing chichen feather fibers on the growth and flowering of Begonia boliviensis

Authors
item Roh, Mark
item Bauchan, Gary
item Huda, Masud -

Submitted to: Journal of Horticulture, Environment and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 2012
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Citation: Roh, M.S., Bauchan, G.R., Huda, M. 2012. The effect of biobased plastic resins containing chichen feather fibers on the growth and flowering of Begonia boliviensis. Journal of Horticulture, Environment and Biotechnology. 51(1):81-91.

Interpretive Summary: Nearly six billion pounds of waste poultry feathers are producted each year in the United States and are processed into cheap animal feed, buried, or incinerated. Using feathers with polymers or plastics derived renewable resources will allow many environmental issues to be resolved. An effective and hopefully profitable utilization of feather wastes is the development of nursery growing containers. However, no information is available on how this bioplastic may affect growth and development of crops. Growth and flowering of floral crops depends on many factors including a medium pH, and other physical and chemical properties. Based on the chemical analysis of six feather fiber pellets formulations mixed in media, four were not suitable and not recommended for future evaluation. Growth, flowering, and foliar analysis of plants grown in 10 cm pots containing 95 g medium amended with one of six pellet formulations were similiar to the control plants. During the first 8 - 16 weeks of growth, nitrogen became available from pellets P 32 and P 37 as detected in the leaves of the propagules. Slow growth, low flowering percentage, or even the death of Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire' grown in P NaS medium is attributed to high pH and high sulfer concentration. One formulation, P 45, is the best source of pellets, if nitrogen is supplied constantlyto the optimum levels.

Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate growth and flowering of Begoniaboliviensis A. DC. 'Bonfire' when grown in medium mixed with pellets made from biobased plastic resins containing chicken feather fibers. We also analyzed macro- and macro-elements in soil and leaf tissues during different developemental stages. Growth, flowering, and foliar analysis of plants grown in 10 cm pots containing 95 g medium mixed with six grams each of pellet 29 (P 29), P 32, P 37, or P 40, 3 g of P NaS, or 9 g of P 45 were similiar to the control plants. Extra nitrogen was available from P 32 and P 37 based on the soil and foliar analysis of plants grown in P 32 and P 37 during the first 59 days. Slow growth, low flowering percentage, or even the death of B. boliviensis 'Bonfire' grown in P NaS medium is attributed to high pH and high sulfur concentration. Based on the pH, soluble salts level, and the concentrations of macro- and macro-elements in the medium and leaves, P 45 pellet is the best source, if nitrogen is supplied constantly to the optimum levels.

Last Modified: 7/12/2014
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