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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #296588

Title: Biobased absorbents derived from seashore mallow stem tissues

item Vaughn, Steven
item Moser, Bryan
item Dien, Bruce
item Iten, Loren
item Thompson, Arthur - Art
item SELISKAR, DENISE - University Of Delaware
item GALLAGHER, JOHN - University Of Delaware

Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/12/2013
Publication Date: 10/12/2013
Citation: Vaughn, S.F., Moser, B.R., Dien, B.S., Iten, L.B., Thompson, A.R., Seliskar, D.M., Gallagher, J.L. 2013. Biobased absorbents derived from seashore mallow stem tissues [abstract]. Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Annual Meeting, October 12-16, 2013, Washington, DC.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Seashore Mallow (SM), Kosteletzkya pentacarpos (L.) Ledeb. (formerly classified as K. virginica K. Presl. ex Gray), a perennial halophytic member of the Malvaceae, is native to coastal areas of North America as well as Eurasia. SM can grow in saline soils up to salinity levels of 0.9%, and thus could be grown on land unsuitable for traditional crops. Individual SM plants produce up to 44 stems annually once maturity (3 years) is reached, with up to 20 stems per plant depending on growing conditions. Because SM stems are similar to kenaf (Hibiscus cannibinus L.), there is potential for these to be used in a variety of industrial applications. Recent research indicated that isolated bast (phloem) fibers from SM stems possessed excellent properties for novel textiles, with greater physico-mechanical properties than cotton fibers, as well as possessing unidentified gums. Our research team has been studying the utilization of agricultural coproducts (e.g., dried distillers grains, oilseed press cakes) for a variety of novel uses, including as biodegradable cat litter, and as hydromulch, material that is used to prevent erosion and for enhanced revegetation of disturbed sites. Preliminary research by our group indicated that ground SM stems absorbed large amounts of both water and organic liquids. The objective of this research was to determine if SM stems, either with bark intact, or mechanically processed to remove the bark, could be employed in a variety of bioabsorbent applications. Larger, debarked stems were milled and separated into three fractions by sieving. The largest fraction absorbed water readily and appeared to be an excellent bedding material for birds and small animals. The mid-sized fraction made an excellent base for biodegradable cat litter with physical properties similar to commercial cat litters. The finest fraction efficiently absorbed diesel fuel which could then be subsequently burned as a fuel, which is not possible with clay products normally used for this purpose. Smaller stems with bark (bast fibers) intact were milled to produce a material which performed excellently as hydraulically-applied mulch (hydromulch), with comparable properties to a commercial hydromulch. The present study indicates that ground and fractionated SM stems could potentially be processed into several commercial biobased products which are equal to or superior than current biobased products.