Comparison of water retention and thermal properties of various polysaccharides, their derivatives and blends

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The Philippines has an abundance of polysaccharide resources such as different forms of cellulose (nata de coco, kapok, ramie, banana fiber, etc.). This paper presents some polysaccharides hydrogels, which have numerous higher value applications. Hydrogel properties are related to water retention property, which in turn can be associated with thermo- or pH-sensitivity. These properties can be modified through derivatization. Acetylation significantly decreases the solubility of the polysaccharide in water and its ability to form hydrogels. The carboxymethyl group decreases water retention without losing its hydrophilicity altogether. Semi-interpenetrating networks, on the other hand, can have controlled properties depending on the amount of crosslinking. These are observed with the help of thermal analysis and equilibration experiments.