Potassium versus Starch Polymers for Hydrogel Agriculture
Updated: Jan 20
Growth and productivity of plants depend upon Air, Water, Light and Minerals - Fact.
Plants make starch from CO2 and water in presence of light is an age old revelation to many. But what is new in today’s depleting circumstances that, Are starch polymers enough for plants? Plants store energy in form of starch to enable metabolic functions like respiration, enzyme synthesis, etc.
What is Starch?
Starch are polymers based on a chain of glucose molecules, prepared by plants in the presence of light to be used for metabolic syntheses. Plants cannot process the entire glucose reserve, the remaining is stored for future requirements.
But, Starch polymers are not minerals!
Minerals are important ingredients in plants’ diet. A number of macro and micro nutrients get absorbed through water by the roots from the soil. Primary nutrients, viz., NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) is used abundantly for growth and other metabolism. These nutrients directly affect the shape, size, colour and texture. Reason why NPK fertilizers are prevalent in the fields to maintain the nutrient level of the soil. Potassium has some of the major contribution to plants in terms of sprouting and reproduction.
Mostly absorbed in its ionic form, it has different roles in plants:
· Potassium regulates the rate of carbon dioxide intake and release
· Helps in the proper synthesis of ATP/ Adenosine Triphosphate, the main source of energy
· Potassium ions enhance water suction ability of the roots
· Deficiency can lead to chlorosis, irregular springing up, vulnerability to temperature changes and drought conditions
· Potassium ions have direct involvement in the development of the root system
· Lack of potassium has several uneven consequences on seasonal fruits, vegetables and crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, apples, sugar beets, cereals, etc. in their timely ripening, normal shape and size, characteristic attributes
Air, Water and Light are out of reach for human intervention. But when it comes to minerals, there are certain outwards by which at least primary nutrients can added to soil particles. Fertilizer additives based on NPK can be added to soil, benefitting plants in their uninterrupted metabolism. But there are problems with fertilizers too, since some of them decomposes into toxic elements which directly effects the fertility of the soil, hence requiring a stable flow than a pile up.
Potassium Polyacrylate based SAP decomposes into Potassium ions, Carbon Dioxide, and Water within weeks of its application, each being an important and necessary ingredient for plants.
Ideal source of potassium ions for soil fertility and plants, potassium polyacrylate does not leave any hazardous wastes as residue/ by product. These polymers absorb vital nutrients from the soil which are then utilized by plants for carrying out various physiological process irrespective of the soil quality and alteration of the chemical composition, nor does it interfere with the biocidal properties of the applied fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, etc.
“Potassium polyacrylate works similar to a sponge under the soil surface, composed of a set of polymeric chains, linked together chemically to become a water-insoluble, net-like matrix that holds water molecules. The immense size and weight of its molecular structure allows each potassium polyacrylate granule to over 500 times its original weight in purified water, released later at the time of requirement over prolonged durations. There is no waterlogging or other ill effects caused by ‘free’ water filling air cavities in the soil. Potassium polyacrylate maximizes plant growth by reducing plant stress. It also absorbs and releases soil nutrients, water-soluble fertilizer and chemicals in the same manner as water, creating a healthy microenvironment in the plant root zone. The result is faster germination, quicker emergence of seeds, consistent growth and higher, better-quality yields of edibles with less water and fewer inputs.” - Wikipedia
Potassium Polyacrylate enhances the growth of plants through prompt absorption and release of nutrients, fertilizers, ensuing quick and proper seed evolution and germination under limited or rather same resources.
Super Absorbent Polymer/ Hydrogel for Agriculture ensures following guaranteed results:
• Significant increase in water retaining ability of the soil
• Efficient usage of water
• Increase in soil permeability and infiltration rate
• Maintains the pH of the soil
• Decrease in irrigation frequency
• Increase in plant performance, particularly in areas prone to drought
• Reduction in the rate of using fertilizers and pesticides
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