Uncoated urea, when applied to crops is susceptible to losses from volatilization, leaching, nitrous emission and water eutrophication. Plants require varying quantities of nutrients during different stages of growth; they need smaller amounts during infancy and larger amounts during the development of roots, stalk and stem. In this research, controlled release coated urea (CRCU) was synthesized via encapsulation with starch- polyvinyl alcohol biocomposite (St-PVOH). Lag, constant and decay release characteristic of the CRCU were simulated using different empirical models as a function of coating thickness. Structural elucidation and morphology of the raw urea and CRCU were determined using FTIR and SEM analytical techniques, respectively. FTIR confirm esterification reaction for St-PVOH. The SEM image of the raw urea appears rough and have fine openings while that of CRCU possesses a seemingly decrease in membrane porosity, ordered and uniform layer. This characteristic qualifies the CRCU as a semi-permeable membrane. Simulation results revealed that coating thickness of 4.3 and 6.4 are best desirable in designing a CRCU for plant at infancy stage, root, and stalk and stem development. Overall, sigmoidal law shows best robust prediction to expanded varying coating thicknesses.
Part of the book: Microencapsulation