Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 391–400 | Cite as

Synthesis and Properties of Feather Keratin-Based Superabsorbent Hydrogels

  • Bryan Wattie
  • Marie-Josée Dumont
  • Mark Lefsrud
Original Paper


The present work reports significant improvement in the performance of keratin based hydrogels. These hydrogels were synthesized by graft copolymerization of acrylic acid monomers on the hydrolyzed keratin proteins’ backbones in the presence of a crosslinker (N,N-methylenebis (acrylamide)) and initiators (sodium bisulfite and potassium persulfate). The grafting was confirmed by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The contributions of the crosslinker, initiator and neutralization degree to the hydrogels were investigated through differential scanning calorimetry, swelling tests, and scanning electron microscopy. The highest equilibrium swelling of hydrogel in distilled water reached 501 g/g of hydrogel in 48 h. The swelling properties of the optimized hydrogel formulation were also studied at various pH and saline concentrations.

Graphical Abstract


Hydrogels Keratin Superabsorbent polymer Characterization 



This research was funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Nature et technologies (FRQNT). We gratefully acknowledge the use of laboratory equipment of Dr. Valérie Orsat and Dr. Michael Ngadi.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Wattie
    • 1
  • Marie-Josée Dumont
    • 1
  • Mark Lefsrud
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bioresource EngineeringMcGill UniversitySte-Anne-de-BellevueCanada

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