Lactose-hydrogels for enhanced water retention in soil and crop yield

Principal Investigator:

David Britt, Utah State University



Project Summary:

The supply of lactose generated from the cheese industry far exceeds the demand, leading to annual lactose accumulations exceeding 1.2 million tons worldwide. The proposed research aims to develop profitable uses for lactose to reduce erosion and improve water infiltration and retention in farmed soil. Lactose will be chemically modified with fatty compounds, resulting in a biodegradable, non-ionic surfactant (surface active molecule) that self-assembles to form highly porous gels that hold several hundred times their weight in water. The unique properties of the lactose-surfactant also extend to many potential applications beyond agriculture.



Published Abstract:

Materials Research Society Fall, 2004 meeting, Boston, MA.Session GG: Mesoscale Architectures from Nano-Units-Assembly, Fabrication, and Properties.Abstract #: GG10.5: