University of Cambridge > > Mineral Sciences Seminars > Where the Crystal Lattice meets the Double Helix

Where the Crystal Lattice meets the Double Helix

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This talk concerns a new approach to plant nutrition. Using natural zeolite together with organic waste a biofertilizer can be easily made which when added to soil sponsors intensive nitrification. The ion-exchange properties of Clinoptilolite, a zeolite mineral found in volcaniclastic sediment often in large deposits in volcanic terrains, cause ammonium ions to be preferentially adsorbed to the zeolite surfaces. When crushed clinoptilolitic tuff is mixed and composted with organic waste the addition of this material to soil sponsors intensive nitrification, due to the activity of ammonium oxidizing bacteria and or chenoarchaea. Empirical investigation has shown that the amended soil pore water becomes highly mobilized by the presence of hydrogen ions produced by the enzyme reactions. This protonation of the pore water produces hydronium ions which react with the soil substrate to release cations . Thus, cations which constitute major and trace amounts of essential and beneficial elements are made available for plant uptake. Examples of enhanced growth and quality are shown by many plant species. Conclusions are reached concerning the efficacy of the organo-zeolitic-soil system.

This talk is part of the Mineral Sciences Seminars series.

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