Salinity affects over 33% of irrigated farmland globally. Developing a low-cost, safe, and effective material as a soil salinity mitigation option would be of significant importance. This study proposed to synthesize a hydrogel using liquefied biomass from sugarcane bagasse, polyvinyl alcohol, and sodium tetraborate decahydrate. The effectiveness of the produced hydrogel in mitigating soil salinity was evaluated based on an incubation experiment at two salinity levels (5 and 10 dS m-1). The experiment was conducted by mixing liquefied hydrogel with soil at four application rates (0, 1, 2, and 3% w/w) with three replications. Porewater and soil samples were tested for pH and electrical conductivity (EC). Soil samples were also analyzed for selected cations and anions. The results demonstrated that hydrogel significantly reduced porewater EC at both 5 and 10 dS m-1 salt solutions. In addition, hydrogel reduced Cl-, P, Ca2+, and Al3+ concentrations in soil samples with maximum reductions observed from 3% hydrogel treatment. However, pH of porewater showed a consistent increase with hydrogel application. The application of hydrogel also increased NH4-N at high salt level. Overall, hydrogel has shown promising results in reducing soil salinity and could potentially be used as a soil amendment for saline soils.
Keywords: Electrical conductivity; Exchangeable sodium percentage; Salinity; Saltwater; Soil amendment; and Sodium adsorption ratio.
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