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Proof of concept for growing lettuce and carrot in a biobased mulch membrane

  • Mauro B. D. Tofanelli (a1), Ignatius Kadoma (a2) and Sam E. Wortman (a3)


Manufactured biobased mulch (biomulch) films and fabrics are useful non-chemical weed management tools, but are not typically used for high-density plantings of vegetables such as lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and carrot (Daucus carota L. subsp. sativus). However, it may be possible for crop roots to grow through a permeable biomulch membrane. Our objective was to demonstrate the potential for lettuce and carrot to germinate on and grow through biomulch, and assess changes in crop growth and yield. Biomulches included a 100% polylactic acid (PLA) biofabric and a PLA (37%) + soybean meal (63%) biofabric (PLA + SOY). Seeds were placed directly on biomulch and top-dressed with a soil mix or compost. Crop roots grew through the biomulch (despite visible constriction in carrot), and total yields were either the same or greater than those in the no-mulch control. PLA + SOY increased lettuce yield by 72% and also degraded faster than the PLA mulch. Results hold promise for improving weed control and reducing labor in high-density vegetable plantings.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Sam E. Wortman, E-mail:


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Proof of concept for growing lettuce and carrot in a biobased mulch membrane

  • Mauro B. D. Tofanelli (a1), Ignatius Kadoma (a2) and Sam E. Wortman (a3)


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