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Bortolin A.,Federal University of Sao Carlos | Bortolin A.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Nanotecnologia Aplicado Ao Agronegocio Lnna | Aouada F.A.,Sao Paulo State University | Mattoso L.H.C.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Nanotecnologia Aplicado Ao Agronegocio Lnna | Ribeiro C.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Nanotecnologia Aplicado Ao Agronegocio Lnna
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

In this work, we synthesized a novel series of hydrogels composed of polyacrylamide (PAAm), methylcellulose (MC), and calcic montmorillonite (MMt) appropriate for the controlled release of fertilizers, where the components presented a synergistic effect, giving very high fertilizer loading in their structure. The synthesized hydrogel was characterized in relation to morphological, hydrophilic, spectroscopic, structural, thermal, and kinetic properties. After those characterizations, the application potential was verified through sorption and desorption studies of a nitrogenated fertilizer, urea (CO(NH2)2). The swelling degree results showed that the clay loading considerably reduces the water absorption capability; however, the hydrolysis process favored the urea adsorption in the hydrogel nanocomposites, increasing the load content according to the increase of the clay mass. The FTIR spectra indicated that there was incorporation of the clay with the polymeric matrix of the hydrogel and that incorporation increased the water absorption speed (indicated by the kinetic constant k). By an X-ray diffraction technique, good nanodispersion (intercalation) and exfoliation of the clay platelets in the hydrogel matrix were observed. Furthermore, the presence of the montmorillonite in the hydrogel caused the system to liberate the nutrient in a more controlled manner than that with the neat hydrogel in different pH ranges. In conclusion, excellent results were obtained for the controlled desorption of urea, highlighting the hydrolyzed hydrogels containing 50% calcic montmorillonite. This system presented the best desorption results, releasing larger amounts of nutrient and almost 200 times slower than pure urea, i.e., without hydrogel. The total values of nutrients present in the system show that this material is potentially viable for application in agriculture as a nutrient carrier vehicle. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source

Aouada F.A.,Sao Paulo State University | Aouada F.A.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Nanotecnologia Aplicado Ao Agronegocio Lnna | Mattoso L.H.C.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Nanotecnologia Aplicado Ao Agronegocio Lnna | Longo E.,Sao Paulo State University
Industrial Crops and Products

In this work, thermoplastic starch (TPS)-clay bionanocomposites were obtained by an innovative methodology using a combination of methodologies commonly used in the composites and nanocomposites preparations. The main objectives or novelties were to confirm efficiency of the processing methodology by field emission gun scanning electron microscopy and investigate the effect of clay content on the spectroscopic, bulk and surface hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties of these bionanocomposites. Raman and FTIR spectroscopies confirmed the changes in the spectroscopic properties of the TPS bionanocomposites with the addition of the clay materials. Water absorption and contact angle measurements were also used to analyze the effect of the clay content on the hydrophilic properties of the TPS bionanocomposites. The results also showed that the addition of the cloisite-Na+ clay increased the bulk and surface hydrophobicities of the TPS matrix, which may increase its industrial application, particularly in manufacturing of food containers. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

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