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Biopolymer Hydrogel Based on Acid Whey and Cellulose Derivatives for Enhancement Water Retention Capacity of Soil and Slow Release of Fertilizers

Centre of Polymer Systems, University Institute, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Tr. T. Bati 5678, 760 01 Zlin, Czech Republic
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Academic Editor: Ki Hyun Bae
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3274; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193274
Received: 24 August 2021 / Revised: 14 September 2021 / Accepted: 23 September 2021 / Published: 25 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers)
This study describes the development of a renewable and biodegradable biopolymer-based hydrogel for application in agriculture and horticulture as a soil conditioning agent and for release of a nutrient or fertilizer. The novel product is based on a combination of cellulose derivatives (carboxymethylcellulose and hydroxyethylcellulose) cross-linked with citric acid, as tested at various concentrations, with acid whey as a medium for hydrogel synthesis in order to utilize the almost unusable by-product of the dairy industry. The water uptake of the hydrogel was evaluated by swelling tests under variations in pH, temperature and ion concentration. Its swelling capacity, water retention and biodegradability were investigated in soil to simulate real-world conditions, the latter being monitored by the production of carbon dioxide during the biodegradation process by gas chromatography. Changes in the chemical structure and morphology of the hydrogels during biodegradation were assessed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The ability of the hydrogel to hold and release fertilizers was studied with urea and KNO3 as model substances. The results not only demonstrate the potential of the hydrogel to enhance the quality of soil, but also how acid whey can be employed in the development of a soil conditioning agent and nutrient release products. View Full-Text
Keywords: biopolymer hydrogel; acid whey; cellulose derivatives; citric acid; swelling properties; soil improvement biopolymer hydrogel; acid whey; cellulose derivatives; citric acid; swelling properties; soil improvement
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MDPI and ACS Style

Durpekova, S.; Di Martino, A.; Dusankova, M.; Drohsler, P.; Sedlarik, V. Biopolymer Hydrogel Based on Acid Whey and Cellulose Derivatives for Enhancement Water Retention Capacity of Soil and Slow Release of Fertilizers. Polymers 2021, 13, 3274. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193274

AMA Style

Durpekova S, Di Martino A, Dusankova M, Drohsler P, Sedlarik V. Biopolymer Hydrogel Based on Acid Whey and Cellulose Derivatives for Enhancement Water Retention Capacity of Soil and Slow Release of Fertilizers. Polymers. 2021; 13(19):3274. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193274

Chicago/Turabian Style

Durpekova, Silvie, Antonio Di Martino, Miroslava Dusankova, Petra Drohsler, and Vladimir Sedlarik. 2021. "Biopolymer Hydrogel Based on Acid Whey and Cellulose Derivatives for Enhancement Water Retention Capacity of Soil and Slow Release of Fertilizers" Polymers 13, no. 19: 3274. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193274

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