Special Issue “Materials for Agricultural”


Special Issue Editor

Zhi Zhou ,

* Correspondence: zhouzhi@hunan.edu.cn

College of Science, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, 410128, P. R. China

Interests: focus on luminescent materials and devices, facility agricultural lighting and pyrolysis process for industrial organic solid waste. 

Special Issue Information

Aim and Scope: This special issue is orgnanized, orienting to the demand for advanced materials in the field of agricultural production and research, which adheres to the basic concept of “from agriculture to agriculture”. We look forward to provide solutions to scientific and technical problems in the development of modern agriculture with advanced materials, through materials design and preparation to obtain advanced materials then applying them to agriculture. So, we are waiting for your participating in this work. This special issue includes but not limits to following topics: (1) luminescent materials and fluorescent quantum dots applied to agricultural lighting, such as plants photosynthesis and photomorphogenesis, horticulture, greenhouse cultivation, poultry farming, seaweed aquaculture, etc., (2) biochar materials prepared from agricultural and forestry wastes; (3) additive materials applied to pesticides and food; (4) auxiliary materials applied to veterinary drugs, such as surfactant materials; (5) materials applied to the field of agricultural environmental protection, such as advanced membrane materials.

We kindly invite you to submit a manuscript(s) for this Special Issue. Full papers, communications, and reviews are all welcome.

Subtopics: Luminescent materials and agricultural lighting; Biomass carbon materials from agriculture; Additive materials pesticide and food; Adjuvant of animal rodenticide; Agricultural environmental protection materials.

Keywords: Luminescent materials; Biomass carbon; Additive materials; Adjuvant materials; Environmental protection materials; Agriculture.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1st July 2020

Manuscript Submission Information

All submissions to Materials International should be made at review@materials.international. The corresponding author has the responsibility of the manuscript during the submission and peer-reviewing process. Please do not forget to state in the email “Subject” the title of this special issue.

Submission Checklist

  1. read the Aim & Scope to gain an overview and assess if your manuscript is suitable for this journal;
  2. use the Microsoft Word Template to prepare your manuscript;
  3. make sure that issues about publication ethics, copyright, authorship, figure formats, data and references format have been appropriately considered;
  4. please try to cite only articles with DOI (digital object identifier); also add DOI for each reference;
  5. please add at least 10 references from the last 2 years (2018-2019) in order to highlight the novelty of your work;
  6. ensure that all authors have approved the content of the submitted manuscript.

Published papers

1) Biomass to Biochar Conversion for Agricultural and Environmental Applications in Nigeria: Challenges, Peculiarities and Prospects


Joshua O. Ighalo 1, *, Adewale George Adeniyi 1, **

1   Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, P. M. B. 1515, Nigeria

*  Correspondence: e-oshea.ighalo@yahoo.com; Scopus ID: 57202955844adeniyi.ag@unilorin.edu.ng; Scopus ID: 57203847713

Planned papers

(1) Utilization of plant-based natural coagulant as alternative sustainable water purification

Ng Meng Hong, Tony Hadibarata

Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Curtin University Malaysia, 98009, Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia


Water is a necessary and indispensable substance for a living life. However, with the growth of human population and rapid industrialization have degraded the water quality and the water demand is increasing rapidly. There are few types of water treatment process that access clean water. Chemical coagulant is one of the methods. However, the residual from chemical coagulant has been reported that could harm human life. Therefore, the plant-based natural coagulant has the potential to substitute the chemical coagulant in the water treatment process. In this work, the potential of plant-based natural coagulants in ability of turbidity removal were identified. The five (5) type of plant-based natural coagulant such as Moringa Oleifera seed, papaya seeds, okra seed, water hyacinth and soybean were tested on the ability of turbidity removal. To improve the effectiveness of plant-based natural coagulants, the extraction process was applied which include salt extraction by NaCl and delipidation. The experiment was conducted by Jar Test experiment. Based on the highest turbidity removal rate, the Moringa Oleifera was selected for batch analysis test. The batch analysis test includes the parameter of pH, contacts time, agitation and dosage.

(2) Effect of silicate oxide (SiO2) on morphological, physical and mechanical properties of biopolymer composites reinforced with wood fibre

1Aina K. S; 1Olayiwola Y.B; 1Oriire L.T and *2Falemara B.C

1Biocomposites Section, Forest Products Development and Utilization Department, *2Research Coordinating Unit, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, P.M.B. 5054, Forest Hills, Jericho, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

falemara.bc@frin.gov.ng; sesan2003toy@gmail.com


Moisture sorption and strength properties of SiO2 modified bio-plastic interlocks made from recycled polyethylene and fibre of Gmelina arborea at different proportional ratio was investigated. The morphological properties and chemical composition of the composites were also examined. The bio-plastic interlocks made at 80/15/5 (SiO2/plastic/wood) was denser than others before and after exposure. All the samples except 30/65/5 were negatively low in water intake after 1 day and 7 days of water absorption respectively. The findings of the study revealed a strong interfacial adhesion in bio-plastic interlocks made at 80/15/5, 70/25/5 and 30/65/5 with presence of voids, no fibre pullout and SiO2 fallout. The tensile-fractured revealed that bio-plastic interlock made at proportional ratio of 30/65/5 had better stress transfer that lead to better strength and modulus. The bio-plastic interlock samples also had good compressional strength at 40 % and 60 % of SiO2 content.  The band spectra for FTIR observed at 1376 to 1384 cm-1 is attributed to O-H bond of the cellulose and band at 1083-1035 cm-1 is also characteristic of Si-O stretching vibration. Compatibility of fibre with SiO2 in composition of plastic composite is a great innovation that could solve the problems of plastic pollution for pavement application.

Keywords: Bio-plastic interlock, Gmelina arborea, Morphology, Strength, Pollution

(3) Palm kernel shell biochar as renewable filler for low density polyethylene (LDPE) composites

Khaliesah Abbas 1, Robert Thomas Bachmann 1, Siew Kooi Ong 1*,  Soh Kheang Loh2

1   Universiti Kuala Lumpur Branch Campus Malaysian Institute of Chemical & Bioengineering Technology (UniKL MICET), Lot 1988, Kawasan Perindustrian Bandar Vendor, Taboh Naning, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia

2   Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Selangor, Malaysia

*  Correspondence: skong@unikl.edu.my ; Scopus ID: 56224916300


Low density polyethylene (LDPE) mixed with petroleum-based carbon black as filler is traditionally used in agriculture sector for mulching films and polybags. The objective of this work is to substitute the traditional carbon black with biochar in LDPE composites. Biochar was produced from palm kernel shells (PKS) at 500°C and 75 min holding time, sieved to 106 um and melt-blended with LDPE (10-45 wt.% loading), UV stabilizer (1 wt.%) and thermal pro-oxidant (2 wt.%). Melt flow index of LDPE composites shown a linear decrease in viscosity with increasing PKS biochar loading (R2 = 0.9962). FTIR analysis of PKS biochar confirmed the presence of polar groups of O-H and C-O, which affects the affinity between PKS biochar particles and LDPE matrix. Tensile, tear and impact strength as well as elongation at break decreased with increase in biochar loadings probably due to limited interfacial adhesion between PKS biochar and LDPE matrix. PKS biochar was compared with traditional carbon black at optimum loading (10 wt.%) and found to exhibit lower mechanical properties except for elongation at break and hardness due to the present of ash and hydroxyl groups and the decreased of aliphatic groups in PKS biochar surfaces.

 Keywords: palm kernel shell biochar; pyrolysis; LDPE biocomposites;  proceassibility; mechanical properties; morphology analysis

(4) Improving agricultural soil with bio-carbon/polylactide composites: Short term stability in a regional soil quality

Annett Dorner-Reisel 1*, Ertan G. Ertane 1, Thomas  Welzel 2, Mathias Kermer 3, Stefan Svoboda 1

1   Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences, Blechhammer 4-9, D-98574 Schmalkalden; Germany

2   Thüringisches Institut für Textil- und Kunststoff-Forschung e.V.; Breitscheidstraße 97; D-07407 Rudolstadt; Germany

3   Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut Chemnitz e.V.; Annaberger Straße 240; D-09125 Chemnitz; Germany*         

Correspondence: a.dorner-reisel@hs-sm.de


Slow pyrolysis under protective nitrogen atmosphere was applied for bio-carbon production from wheat straw. The bio-carbon is applied for reinforcing polylactide (PLA) filaments. Using different volume fractions of bio-carbon, the mechanical and tribological properties of PLA can be improved [1]. Following to usage of the reinforced biopolymer PLA as a structural material for constructions, the intention is to apply the bio-carbon/PLA composites for soil reconditioning. Biochar and Bio-carbon are known to improve soil quality because it not only promotes the microbial community in agricultural soils, but also improves soils water retention. First result from exposure of PLA with 5 vol.-%, 15 vol.-% and 30 vol.-% of bio-carbon in soils are presented (Fig. 1). The mechanical strength was tested according DIN EN ISO 5079:1996-02. It is reduced after 4 weeks exposure in soil by about 10 %. Degradation of the PLA started at the bio-carbon/biopolymer interfaces. Using special interfacial design provides a possible method to adapt the degradation time or to change the water retention according to the special demands of the agricultural region and climatic conditions.

Keywords: bio-carbon; polylactide; composites, soil improvement

Fig. 1: Bio-carbon/PLA filament from


[1]           Ertan G. Ertane, Annett Dorner-Reisel, Ozlem Baran, Thomas, Welzel, Viola, Matner, Stefan Svoboda,   Processing and Wear Behaviour of 3D printed PLA Reinforced with Biogenic Carbon, Advances in Tribology; 2018; article ID 1763182, 11 pages, https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1763182

(5) The effect of biochar on some physical properties of a sandy soil

Mahdis Tozhi[1], Shoja Ghorbani-Dashtaki[2]*, Hamidreza Motaghian[3], Ahmadreza Ghasemi[4]

[1] MSc Student, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahrekord University

[2] Professor., Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahrekord University

[3] Assistant Professor., Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahrekord University

[4] Assistant Professor., Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahrekord University

* Corresponding Author Email: ghorbani-sh@sku.ac.ir


Drought and the resulting stress are one of the most important and common environmental stresses that limit agricultural production. Researchers have used organic amendments such as biochar to improve soil properties and reduce the effects of the undesirable stresses. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of applicating the provided biochar of Walnut wood and Walnut green shell on retention curve and hydraulic parameters of a sandy soil in completely randomized design. For this purpose, the biochar were produced at 400 0C for 2 h. The amendments (walnut wood and walnut green shell and their biochar) at 1 and 2 w/w% ratios (36 and 72 t.ha-1, respectively) were mixed with soil sample in three replications and were incubated for 120 days in greenhouse conditions. The retention curve of the incubated soils was measured using sandbox and pressure plates apparatus. Statistical analysis showed that the applied biochar had significant effects on bulk density, porosity, stability of aggregates in wet sieving, and van Genuchten’s parameters (except residual moisture parameter). Application of 2% walnut green shell biochar led to 17% reduction in bulk density (17%) compared to the control and increased the total soil porosity. Application of 2% biochar had the highest effect on the soil water retention curve. Also, the addition of biochar significantly increased soil water retention at low tension and decreased the difference in soil moisture content between treatments. Since water retention curve in lower tension is affected by coarse soil pores and soil structure it could be concluded thta addition of biochar improved soil structure and increased coarse soil porosity. Application of appropriate biochar amounts as an amendment in agricultural soil can partially improve the physical and hydraulic properties of sandy soils in semiarid region.

keywords: Biochar, Physical Properties, Walnut wood, Walnut green shell, Water retention Curve

(6) Adsorption Isotherm and Kinetics of Methylene Blue Dye on Chemically-Activated Porous Carbons from Douglas fir wood

Elmar M. Villota1,2, Hanwu Lei1*, Shiela Marie A. Villota2, Wendy C. Mateo1,2, Moriko Qian1, Yunfeng Zhao1, Erguang Huo1, Xiaona Lin1, Zhiyang Huang1, Qingfa Zhang1

[1] Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University – Tri-Cities, Richland, WA 99345-1671, USA

[2] Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Central Luzon State University, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, 3120 Philippines

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 509 372 7628; fax +1 509 372 7690. E-mail: hlei@wsu.edu


The effective and practical removal of waste constituents prior to discharge to the environment is a real challenge especially with the current pressure of efforts on environmental protection. Existing methods can either involve precipitation, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, and solvent extraction processes that entail technological complexity. Adsorption on the other hand offer much simpler operation and design and AC is a very valid adsorbent owing to its superior structural characteristics such as highly tunable surface area and controllable porosity. Laboratory produced activated carbon (AC) from Douglas fir (DF) wood via chemical activation with H3PO4 were studied for methylene blue (MB) dye adsorption performance. Three kinds of AC activated with different levels (35%, 60%, and 85% by weight) of H3PO4 namely AC35, AC60, and AC85 were tested for equilibrium and kinetic adsorption under a constant temperature of 25°C. Data were modeled using 6 isotherm and 3 kinetics models to outline the performance and understand the mechanism of adsorption with respect to varying pore structure. Isotherm modeling revealed that AC35, a microporous AC, follow Dubinin-Radushkevich (D-R)>Temkin>Langmuir models more convincingly among other models while mesoporous AC65 and AC85, favor Freundlich>Halsey>Harkin-Jura over other models. Langmuir maximum monolayer adsorptions were estimated at 256.4, 333.3, and 344.8 mg/g for AC35, AC60, and AC85 respectively. Meanwhile, kinetic modeling suggests that Elovich and pseudo-second order kinetic models best describe adsorption dynamics of MB on all ACs. However, higher surface area and uniformly mesoporous AC85 follow pseudo-second order kinetic more reasonably than Elovich model. Overall, results imply that the effective and favorable adsorption of MB on Douglas fir AC is of physical nature with adsorption rate positively increases with AC’s surface area.

Keywords: Adsorption isotherm, adsorption kinetics, activated carbon, methylene blue adsorption, softwood waste