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Green composites for fertilizer controlled release produced by compression molding and FDM

PUBLISHED March 14, 2023 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.54985/peeref.2303p8203188)



Maria Clara Citarrella1 , Emmanuel Fortunato Gulino1 , Roberto Scaffaro2
  1. Department of Engineering, University of Palermo, Italy
  2. Department of Engineering, University of Palermo, Italy

Conference / event

Polymers in Salina. Polymers, Health and Sustainability (MoDeSt Society), September 2022 (Salina (ME), Italy)

Poster summary

Excessive fertilization causes ecological problems. To solve this problem and promote agriculture sustainability, an innovative green composite for controlled release fertilizers (CRF) was produced by adding NPK fertilizer flour to a biodegradable polymer (Mater-Bi®) with or without Opuntia Ficus Indica (OFI) particles. The devices were successfully fabricated both for compression molding and FDM using all the formulations. Both filler and fertilizer displayed good dispersion in the composites, excellent adhesion with the matrix and effectively acted as reinforcement. Release tests of devices reveal the ability of all the composites to slow the release rate of NPK (up to 30 days), which proved to be tunable by modifying formulation, flours granulometry and production techniques. The porous structure of FDM samples promote the water transport across the devices allowing the release of the NPK also from the more inner layer. Release data were fitted according to Peppas-Korsmeyer model to understand the release mechanism.


Green composites, 3D printing, Sustainable agriculture, Biopolymers, Circular economy, Waste valorization

Research areas

Material Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Agriculture, Plant Sciences, Environmental Engineering


  1. Scaffaro R, Citarrella MC, Gulino EF. Opuntia Ficus Indica based green composites for NPK fertilizer controlled release produced by compression molding and fused deposition modeling. Compos Part A Appl Sci Manuf 2022;159:107030. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.COMPOSITESA.2022.107030.


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Supplemental files

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Additional information

Competing interests
No competing interests were disclosed.
Data availability statement
The datasets generated during and / or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Creative Commons license
Copyright © 2023 Citarrella et al. This is an open access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Citarrella, M., Gulino, E., Scaffaro, R. Green composites for fertilizer controlled release produced by compression molding and FDM [not peer reviewed]. Peeref 2023 (poster).
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