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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 12 No. 4, p. 549-552
    Received: Nov 12, 1982

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Ammonium Adsorption by a Zeolite in a Static and a Dynamic System1

  1. M. A. Weber,
  2. K. A. Barbarick and
  3. D. G. Westfall2



New types of soil amendments are being considered to reduce the leaching losses of N fertilizers. One such potential soil amendment is clinoptilolite, which is a natural zeolite with ion exchange properties and an affinity for the ammonium ion (NH4+). The objectives of this study were to quantify the adsorption of ammonium (NH4) by a clinoptilolite in a shaking study (static system) and to measure how effective this zeolite was in increasing NH4 retention in soil leaching columns (dynamic system). A batch equilibrium shaking test showed that this zeolite adsorbed 4.3 times more NH4 than the Nunn clay loam (Aridic Argiustoll) soil. When mixed together with the soil and placed in 6.35 cm (i.d.) by 30 cm long columns (dynamic system), the zeolite significantly reduced the leaching of NH4+ only at a relatively high application rate (135 Mg ha−1). comparison of the two zeolite application methods at the highest zeolite rate (135 Mg ha−1) showed that banded treatments significantly reduced the leaching of NH4+, compared with treatments where zeolite was homogenously mixed with the entire soil volume. Indications are, however, that large quantities of clinoptilolite would be required to reduce NH4+ leaching in fine-textured soils.

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