Biopolymer-Based Hydrogels for Agriculture Applications: Swelling Behavior and Slow Release of Agrochemicals

  • Bárbara TomadoniEmail author
  • Claudia Casalongué
  • Vera A. Alvarez


Hydrogels are cross-linked polymers that can absorb and hold large amounts of water and aqueous solutions due to the presence of hydrophilic functional groups in their 3D network. These materials also serve as vehicles of different active compounds because they can regulate their release rate. Because of such properties, hydrogels are currently used in many areas including agriculture, mainly as water retention agents for soil conditioning, and as carriers of agrochemicals for their slow or sustained-release. However, most of the hydrogels currently available on the market are based on polyacrylamide and acrylate derivatives, which means that they are not completely biodegradable, i.e. are considered as potential soil contaminants and present certain degree of toxicity. In this context, the development of biodegradable hydrogels for their use in agriculture is gaining interest worldwide. Biopolymers such as chitosan, cellulose, alginate and their derivatives are being explored due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability and low cost. Briefly, in this chapter, recent studies on biopolymer-based hydrogels for their use in agriculture are discussed in terms of their synthesis, swelling behavior, as well as their uses for slow and controlled release of agrochemicals.


Fertilizers Herbicides 



The authors would like to thank Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), and Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP), Argentina. BT, CC and VAA are members of CONICET research staff.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bárbara Tomadoni
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudia Casalongué
    • 2
  • Vera A. Alvarez
    • 1
  1. 1.Grupo de Materiales Compuestos Termoplásticos (CoMP), Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencia y Tecnología de Materiales (INTEMA), Facultad de IngenieríaUniversidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP) y Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Mar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas. UE CONICET-UNMDP, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina

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