Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 2934–2944 | Cite as

The Effect of Carboxyl Group Content on Water Uptake Capacity and Tensile Properties of Functionalized Soy Protein-Based Superabsorbent Plastics

  • A. A. Cuadri
  • A. Romero
  • C. Bengoechea
  • A. Guerrero
Original Paper


This manuscript studies the relation between macroscopic properties of the soy protein isolate (SPI)-based superabsorbent polymers (SAP) (e.g., water uptake capacity and tensile properties) and the extent of chemical modification conducted on the protein. The increase in the carboxyl group content, obtained from electrometric titrations, for acylated systems compared to native SPI brings with it an improvement in the protein hydrophilic character, as revealed by the determination of the water imbibing capacity. SEM images show that larger porous regions were developed in the acylated plastics. As for their mechanical properties, static tensile measurements indicated that acylated plastics with greater water uptake values display higher extensibility, compared to the reference sample. These natural-based SAP materials could be appropriate for applications in which maintaining the dimensional stability during service is not crucial (e.g. in agriculture and horticulture).


Superabsorbent plastics Water uptake capacity Static tensile properties Protein functionalization 



This work is part of a research project (Ref. CTQ2015-71164-P) sponsored by MINECO/FEDER (EU). The authors gratefully acknowledge their financial support. The authors also acknowledge to CIITUS (Universidad de Sevilla) for providing full access and assistance to the SEM of the Microscopy Service.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Cuadri
    • 1
  • A. Romero
    • 2
  • C. Bengoechea
    • 2
  • A. Guerrero
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Centro de Investigación en Tecnología de Productos y Procesos Químicos (Pro2TecS), Campus de ‘El Carmen’Universidad de HuelvaHuelvaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Facultad de QuímicaUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain

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