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Protected cultivations play a major economic rule in the Italian agricultural system, not only for the fact that they are widely spreading, but also because they are crucial in the production of fresh products and floral products destined to exportation.
Particularly in the South of Italy, it is important to optimize water resources.
In fact, in many regions the inclusion of sea water increases salinity of the groundwater table which eventually becomes unusable.
A pilot plant has been set up in order to promote the scale-up of the production of a cellulose-based superabsorbent hydrogel crosslinked with divinylsulfon (DVS); this system allows to control the release of water and nutrients in time and accordingly to the need of each plant.
For the time being, the plant already produces samples of material which are currently being tested in the soil. Swelling ratio (wet/dry weight) is higher than 200.
At the same time, alongside the plant production, the synthesis of a superabsorbent hydrogel crosslinked with citric acid has been investigated; the hydrogel obtained through this method has the great advantage of lower primary and production costs and avoiding any toxic intermediate during its synthesis.


For any information write to Alessandro Sannino



University of Salento   FacoltÓ di Ingengeria   Department of Engineering for Innovation
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