From Agricultural Byproducts to Value-Added Materials: Wheat Straw-Based Hydrogels as Soil Conditioners?

Katja Heise*, Maximilian Kirsten, Yvonne Schneider, Doris Jaros, Harald Keller, Harald Rohm, Karsten Kalbitz, Steffen Fischer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, we present a simple synthetic approach to fabricate wheat straw-based hydrogels, starting from the unfractionated and carboxymethylated lignocellulosic matrix. Citric acid was used as a cheap and nontoxic cross-linker. The applied hydrogel characterizations can be essentially distinguished into investigations on the synthetic pathway and model-scale application-related tests. For the first part, three sample-specific values were introduced: gel yield (%), swelling ratio (g water /g), and gel stiffness (G′, Pa). Optimized reaction conditions led to mechanically stable gels with a moderate swelling ratio (up to 50 g water /g). Moreover, dynamic vapor sorption analysis revealed that these gels reswell after complete drying. Finally, one selected hydrogel was incorporated into two different model soil substrates, assessing its impact on the soil's water retention. Our experiments showed that already low incorporation rates (0.2 wt %) increased the water content of a sandy soil by 70% (at pF 2.53). Overall, these results are promising and may lead to new soil amendments based on a sustainable source and a simple synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8604-8612
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biomass valorization
  • Moisture sorption
  • Soil amendment
  • Water retention


Dive into the research topics of 'From Agricultural Byproducts to Value-Added Materials: Wheat Straw-Based Hydrogels as Soil Conditioners?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this