Protein-based Superabsorbent Hydrogels


Researchers  at  WSU  have  produce  a  novel  superabsorbent  material  prepared  by  a  macromonomer approach which provides for a superabsorbent hydrogel. Additionally,  due to the method of manufacturing the hydrogel is biodegradable.

Superabsorbent  hydrogels  are  water-absorbing  polymers  that  can  absorb  10-1000  times  their  weight  in  water.    Currently,  superabsorbent  materials  are  mostly  made  of petroleum-based polymers, mainly copolymers of acrylic acid (or its sodium salt) and  acrylamide.  Which  can  not  only  be  toxic  to  the  environment,  but  also  require  specialized  manufacturing  methods  to  produce.  This  technology  by  comparison,  is  a  protein  based  product  that  will  reduce  environmental  impact,  as  well  as  fulfill  society’s sustainability goals of producing more products from renewable resources. Additionally, the degradation of the gel as well as the mechanical properties can be controlled  by  varying  the  composition  of  the  components.  Making  this  technology  widely applicable to a number of industries 

Applications and Advantages

• Applications for this technology have a broad range: soil additives, oil treatment,

industrial  dewatering,  water  purification,  baby  diapers,  and  adult  hygiene 

products to name a few

• Field testing have been conducted as an additive for watering crops

• Biodegradable

• Green alternative to what is currently on the market   




Learn More

Scott Steiger
Associate Director
Washington State University
(509) 335-7065
Reference No: 1287-OIPA-OC


Jinwen Zhang
Wenjia Song

Key Words