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dc.titleA field study on using soybean waste-derived superabsorbent hydrogel to enhance growth of vegetables
dc.contributor.authorJINGLING ZHU
dc.contributor.authorFadhlina Suhaimi
dc.contributor.authorROBYN LIM JING YING
dc.contributor.authorGAO ZHENGYANG
dc.contributor.authorSANJAY SWARUP
dc.contributor.authorLoh Chiang Shiong
dc.contributor.authorLi Jun
dc.contributor.authorOng Choon Nam
dc.contributor.authorWee Kee Tan
dc.identifier.citationJINGLING ZHU, Fadhlina Suhaimi, ROBYN LIM JING YING, GAO ZHENGYANG, SANJAY SWARUP, Loh Chiang Shiong, Li Jun, Ong Choon Nam, Wee Kee Tan (2022-08-19). A field study on using soybean waste-derived superabsorbent hydrogel to enhance growth of vegetables. Science of the Total Environment 851. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
dc.description.abstractFood security is critical and has become a global concern with many of our basic food crops growing in areas with high drought risk. To improve soil water holding capacity, hydrogels are a promising solution. However, the current ones are mostly derived from petroleum products and are environmental unsustainable. In this study, the main objective is to determine if bio-based hydrogel can help in the growth of leafy vegetables while minimizing water use under field conditions. To achieve this, we developed an okara-derived hydrogel (Ok-PAA; OP) from by-products of bean curd and soybean milk production. We incorporated OP into soil and assessed the growth performance of leafy vegetables. We observed that vegetables grown with 0.2% (w/v) OP in soil with a watering frequency of 7 times per week resulted in >60 % and 35 % yield increase for the common Asian leafy vegetables, choy sum (CS) and pak choi (PC), respectively, as compared to without hydrogel supplementation. Both vegetables produced larger leaf areas (20–40 % increment) in the presence of the hydrogel as compared to those without. In addition, with OP amendment, the irrigation water use efficiency improved >60 % and 30 % for CS and PC, respectively. It is estimated that with the use of the hydrogel, a reduction in watering frequency from 21 times to 7 times per week could be achieved, and based on a per hectare estimation, this would result in 196,000 L of water saving per crop cycle. Statistical analysis and modelling further confirmed vegetables grown with 0.2 % (w/v) OP and with a watering frequency of 7 times per week showed the best growth performance and water use efficiency. Such a waste-to-resource approach offers a plant-based soil supplement for crop growers, contributes to waste valorization, and enhances the growth of plants especially under water-limited conditions.
dc.subjectSuperabsorbent polymers
dc.subjectSustainable crop production
dc.subjectClimate change
dc.subjectWater use efficiency
dc.contributor.departmentBIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
dc.contributor.departmentBIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
dc.contributor.departmentSAW SWEE HOCK SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
dc.description.sourcetitleScience of the Total Environment
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