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The use of mycorrhizae and biodegradable mulch in Maltese agriculture.

Authors: John Galea, ,
  • Institute: Institute of Applied Sciences
  • Symposium: Environmental and Cultural Sustainability
  • Day: 1 , Session: 2 , Location: Conference Hall 1
  • Session Type: Short 10 min (Early stage research) , Start: 11:30 , End: 11:45

Abstract

During this academic year, I will be carrying out research on two separate field experiments:

a). The use of biodegradable mulch in Maltese agriculture: a feasibility study

A field experiment will be carried out to evaluate differences, both from an agronomic and economic point of view on the use of biodegradable mulch (BDM) in Maltese agriculture. Polyethylene mulch (PE) is widely used in local agriculture for the production of crops such as tomato for processing, aubergines, peppers and strawberries to suppress weed growth and maintain soil water from evaporation. PE mulch is only used for one crop where afterwards it is pulled out and disposed of in the landfill as this plastic is dirty with soil. The use of BDM can eliminate completely waste production from the use of mulch.

b. Mycorrhizae: their influence on crop performance in Maltese soil

Research shows that mycorrhizal fungi alleviate the plant during drought conditions. with the effects that climate change can have on Malta, crop production especially in summer will be a challenge on water resources due to prolonged dry spells. Mycorrhizae help plants during stressful conditions of drought such as improving root efficiency and size and regulating transpiration. Using mycorrhizae can be one of the strategies used to improve our crop production during drought conditions. A field experiment will be carried out comparing the use of PE and BDM mulch for both agronomic and economic aspects.