New guar gum-based hydrogel can help save drought-hit crops

The guar gum-based hydrogel is biodegradable and provides organic content to the soil upon degradation. Scientists have developed a hydrogel from gum of guar (cluster bean) that can increase soil moisture and help farmers save their crops in case of water shortage. Hydrogels are community of polymers that can hang great amount of water and are broadly utilized in diapers and sanitary napkins. Synthetic hydrogels are, alternatively, no longer readily biodegradable and their degradation merchandise are considered to be hazardous for atmosphere.

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“The Guar gum-based hydrogel is biodegradable. Besides increasing moisture content, it adds organic content to the soil upon degradation,” explained Nandkishore Thombare, a scientist at Ranchi-based Indian Institute of Natural Resins and Gums and a member of the analysis group, while speaking to India Science Wire. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) had previous evolved and effectively commercialised a semi-synthetic hydrogel, popularly known as Pusa Gel. It was discovered to save water-stressed crops. “Our work is similar to previous research in principle but we have used a different starting material. Pusa gel uses cellulose and zeolites while we have relied on Guar gum,” Thombare stated.

The hydrogel used to be discovered to take in as much as 800
ml water in keeping with gram and improved porosity, moisture absorption and
retention capability of the soil considerably. Water maintaining capacity of
soil greater up to 54 per cent of its unique and porosity also higher up to 9
per cent of its unique.

A microscopic analysis of the newly-synthesised hydrogel
showed spongy surface and each macro and micro pores which allowed direct
penetration of the water resulting in upper swelling capability as in
comparison to non-porous and compact surface of guar gum. While the utmost
water maintaining capability of untreated soil used to be discovered to be
33.59 according to cent, addition of zero.three in step with cent of powdered
hydrogel advanced the capacity through round 54 according to cent.

Addition of hydrogel also diminished bulk density of the
soil signifying higher porosity by way of 9 in keeping with cent. Higher
porosity improves soil aeration and microbial depend thus bettering total high
quality of the soil.

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“Guar gum-based hydrogels have a good potential in
agriculture because of their high water absorption capacity and
biodegradability. But the study does not mention the degraded products and
post-polymerisation effects. The residual effect of grafters and crosslinkers
on microorganisms is also not clear,” commented ok S V Poorna Chandrika,
scientist with agricultural chemistry department of the Hyderabad-based Indian
Institute of Oilseeds Research, who isn’t attached with the study.

The analysis team additionally wants to paintings further on
the hydrogen it has developed. “We need increase shelf life of the product as
its absorption capacity declines over time. Our next plan is to standardise the
synthesis process of the product to address that issue. We also need to test
its scalability,” Thombare said.

In addition to Thombare, the analysis crew included Sumit
Mishra, M. Z. Siddiqui, Usha Jha, Deodhari Singh and Gopal R Mahajan. The study
has been published within the magazine Carbohydrate Polymers.


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