Bio-based superabsorbent hydrogels for nutrient release

Alessandra B. Ribeiro*, Helena Moreira, Sofia I. A. Pereira, Mariana Godinho, Ana Sofia da Silva Sousa, Paula Castro, Carla F. Pereira, Francisca Casanova, Ricardo Freixo, Manuela E. Pintado, Óscar L. Ramos

*Autor correspondente para este trabalho

Resultado de pesquisarevisão de pares


Drought is characterized by a low water precipitation rate, with strong impact on crop productivity, threatening global food production. In this context, the use of soil amendments, such as superabsorbent hydrogels constitute a potential technology for better water use efficiency and higher crop yields. In this work, we synthesised cellulose-based hydrogels, characterized their physical and functional properties, evaluated their impact on the environment, and their potential to be used as a soil amendments. The hydrogel showed pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and conductivity below 10.0 µS cm-1. The Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) showed a low intensity peak in the crystallinity region, which was supported by the low crystallinity index (27.3% ± 0.6) verified by Powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) analysis. The swelling capacity reached more than 200 g of water, the hydrogel showed good resistance to osmotic pressure and high thermostability, which favours the application in hot and arid areas. In addition, no potentially hazardous compound was detected, nor was there any adverse effect on soil microorganisms. Further, the hydrogel was found to be safe for use during seed sowing and for promoting seedling development. In the greenhouse pot experiment, the hydrogels showed a significant increase in maize shoot and root biomass, demonstrating their ability to contribute to the overall water holding capacity of the soil, thereby influencing nutrient availability for more efficient plant growth. In conclusion, the superabsorbent hydrogel exhibited promising characteristics for use as a soil amendment, scalability potential and constitutes a sustainable alternative for agricultural applications.
Idioma originalEnglish
Número do artigo112031
RevistaJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Número de emissão2
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - abr. 2024

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