SUPER ABSORBENT POLYMERS - AN INNOVATIVE WATER SAVING TECHNIQUE FOR OPTIMIZING CROP YIELD
Rajiv Dabhi1, Neelkanth Bhatt2 and Bipin Pandit3
|Corresponding Author: SHARMA VIVEK, E-mail: [email protected]|
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Many arid and semi arid regions are facing the problems of uncertain and inadequate rain fall. Spatially diversified soil characteristics, shortage of large agricultural lands and underprivileged condition of farmers do not allow them to adopt advantageous and economical application of traditional irrigation methods as well as micro irrigation techniques (drip and sprinkler irrigation). Though, not much research in India has been undertaken on the use of Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) in agriculture, the researchers world over (specifically Iran, China, Europe and USA) have extensively worked on utilizing SAP for increasing water use efficiency and enhancing crop yield. Various studies have strongly recommended that soil conditioning with Super Absorbent Polymers could be an innovative facet in the field of agriculture, which works as miniature water storage reservoirs. Research evidences suggest that problems associated with traditional micro irrigation and the factors which are catalyst in practicing efficient irrigation techniques can be taken care of by conditioning the soil with SAP. Better water management can be attained with the application of polymers and considerable water saving can be done without compromising the crop yield. Present literature review has been conducted to have a quick access in understanding various properties of Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP, Hydro-gels, and Polymers) to be used in agriculture. Science of SAP, hydrophilic property, irrigation efficiency, effects under drought stress, effects over the morphological features of the plant, optimum use of fertilizers, biodegradability and application rates under different condition are thoroughly reviewed. The present review would provide an initiative for the experimental research on use of SAP and its rate of application to optimize water use efficiency and the yield of cash crops in arid and semi-arid regions.