N-vinylpyrrolidone(VP)/methacrylic acid (MAA) monomer mixtures containing different quantities of methacrylic acid were irradiated with gamma-radiation to form hydrogels. Mixtures which contain 5, 10, 15% and irradiated with 3.4 kGy were used for swelling and diffusion studies in water and solutions of methyl violet and for the adsorption of methyl violet from aqueous solutions. Diffusion of water and methyl violet within hydrogels were found to be of non-Fickian character. In the dye adsorption experiments, the effects of pH, concentration of aqueous solution of dye and the composition of hydrogels on the adsorption process were investigated. When the pH and concentration of aqueous solutions of dye and the MAA content in hydrogels increased, the adsorption increased. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.